Listen free for 30 days

The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis

Narrated by: Louis Markos
Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

What can we still learn from C.S. Lewis? Find out in these 12 insightful lectures that cover the author's spiritual autobiography, novels, and his scholarly writings that reflect on pain and grief, love and friendship, prophecy and miracles, and education and mythology.

This is your chance to explore a canon of literary work that speaks volumes about the imaginative, emotional, and spiritual power of literature. As you delve into the depths of enduring works such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and Till We Have Faces, you'll consider a range of questions central to truly understanding why C.S. Lewis has had such a profound impact on 20th-century readers.

From the magisterial Oxford History of English Literature to children's fantasy series, how did Lewis write with such brilliance and coherence in so many distinct fields? What were the people, events, and influences that shaped his thought, his character, and the spiritual drama at his life's core? What do Lewis's fictional and factual autobiographies reveal about his conversion and his efforts to explain and defend Christianity? How do his writings help readers come to grips with perennial spiritual questions involving miracles, suffering, sin, and salvation?

Join Professor Markos for an eye-opening examination of why Lewis - the Oxbridge don and self-described, "very ordinary layman of the Church of England," touches millions of readers so deeply and is considered the most widely read Christian spokesman of our time.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ark1836
  • Ark1836
  • 31-08-15

C.S. Lewis Would Be Proud

This course explores the greatest works of C.S. Lewis. The first half of the course focuses on his non-fiction works and the second half on his fiction works, ending with the famous Chronicles of Narnia. Each lecture gives a short synopsis of the work, but the professor's primary goal is to give the background of the work and explore the messages that Lewis was trying to convey.

Preliminarily, anyone listening to this should be aware that C.S. Lewis was a devout Christian who focused much of his time extolling the virtues of Christianity and persuading others to adopt the faith. Nearly all of his works are either overtly Christian or Christian allegories. The professor begins his presentation by expressing that he shares Lewis's worldview, which is particularly appropriate in this context because it gives the professor a deeper understanding of Lewis's message. While it is possible that some of the professor's lectures may come off as "preachy," the listener should bear in mind that Lewis was typically trying to do just that—i.e., preach the Gospel. Lewis did not hide his faith and no serious review of his work can be done without exploring his beliefs as well as the foundations of Christian thought. The professor handled this both skillfully and respectfully. The professor's knowledge of Lewis's is vast, and the class is both informative and entertaining. I gained a much deeper appreciation of Lewis as a person and Lewis as an author.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard
  • Richard
  • 20-11-13

Basically a collection of sermons

I hoped that this would be a series of lectures that talked about C.S. Lewis' life and the major themes in his writing. I already knew that most of what Lewis wrote is either an allegory of Christianity or directly apologetic of Christianity. I'm fine with that, and I expected that it would be a major recurring theme in this course. Unfortunately, this isn't a series of lectures, it's a series of sermons. Essentially, every lecture boils down to "here is one of the Truths of Christianity" (notice the capital "T") and a few quotes from one or two of C.S. Lewis' works on that theme. I'm a practicing Christian, and the problem wasn't that I was offended by the professor's sharing of his faith (he and I are probably 80% faith-compatible, if that's even a thing). The problem was that I wanted a literature review mixed with some biography, but I got twelve sermons with passing references to C.S. Lewis. If you want twelve sermons with references to C.S. Lewis, then this course is a good choice. Unfortunately, the description implies that it's something very different.

56 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Emily Romrell
  • Emily Romrell
  • 06-07-16

Meh

I was already a big fan of C. S. Lewis when I downloaded this lecture series. While I did appreciate some of the points Professor Markos makes, I felt as if I was being preached at rather than being presented with information so I could form my own opinions.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mary W. Spring
  • Mary W. Spring
  • 08-05-15

Whirlwind tour of Lewis

Loved this and gave it five stars! Will relisten to all except the parts on the sci-fiction summaries. I have read them and not even the professor's explanations help Perelandra.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard
  • Richard
  • 29-01-19

More Proletizing Lecture than Literarue or Bio

Unfortunately, while there is little doubt that C. S. Lewis was both a great writer and a Christian in his beliefs, the effort here is more of the lecturer trying to convince us that Christianity is the real truth, and that the lecturer's other politically conservative values have been proven true. Markos forgets Lewis's criticism of the "evil" damage done to the Earth by uncaring industrial companies described in the last book of Lewis's famous science fiction trilogy. There is also the endorsement of the legend of the Pendragon, a rather pagan concept. Freud, William James and other contemporaries of Lewis are pointed out as flawed critics of Christian "truths." More contemporary and scientific considerations of psychology, psychiatry and medicine are not mentioned in the lectures, as far as I could get into them. After three sermons from a conservative Christian preacher, I had to give it up. I am so sorry that this is listed a s literary class. It does not have the academic rigor I have come to expect from the many great courses I have listened to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-01-18

Enlightening work, passionate presentation

Professor Markos covers Lewis's work and life in a thorough, thought-provoking and well organized presentation. The combination of summarizing C.S. Lewis's works with the Professor's analysis (including how Lewis's life experiences and literary influences are reflected in his writings) kept my full attention throughout the course. I found myself stopping at several points to re-listen and reflect on the material. The lectures are highly energetic, reflecting the Professor's passion for the topics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for D M BOYCE
  • D M BOYCE
  • 06-12-16

Helpful to any Lewis/Tolkein students.

What made the experience of listening to The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis the most enjoyable?

Good back story and timeline added to CSLs experience. Lectures interesting and easy to follow. Adds well to context for the writings, author and his time.

What other book might you compare The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis to and why?

Lecture connects his works and contributes to the arch of his life

Have you listened to any of Professor Louis Markos’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No but would give it a go

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Pulled pieces of stories and parts together from previous experience. Very helpful to see the larger body of works in context.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Danimike
  • Danimike
  • 14-01-15

A good overview, but more summary than analysis

The instructor is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. My reservations are in two areas: first, he devotes a great deal of time to summarizing Lewis's books and not nearly enough time analyzing them; and second, he allows his devotion to CS Lewis to overshadow any critical analysis of Lewis's ideas, relative to the broader context of theological, historical, and philosophical thought.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for coryden
  • coryden
  • 06-08-19

My favorite new great course!

I have never finished a great course so quickly! Took me just under a week to finish all twelve lectures. The professor was engaging, funny, personal, and absolutely knew and understood C.S. Lewis. I will be going back to listen all over again and hope to be able to hear more from this professor as well since he is easily one of the best I've listened to on the Great courses. Fantastic depth in each lecture as well as practical on explaining why and how they form a whole in Lewis' literature and theology. I totally did not cry on the last lecture...

so so good,

great job Louis Markos!

thank you.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christopher Rios
  • Christopher Rios
  • 05-08-19

a bit too bias but good for a Lewis Fan

I love C.S. Lewis. I feel he is the greatest author and thinker of our time. However I am nowhere near the superfan as is the professor giving this lecture. His rhythm in his speech is strained and overexcited as he runs out of breath in his attempts to convey his enthusiasm for Lewis, which makes listening to him a bit difficult. I was in the market for a more broad and unbiased view of Lewis' life and writings, showing a full spectrum of understanding not only of his direct intention but of its impact on the world in its many forms. instead, what is delivered is a superfan speech who idolizes the author in all of his works as being "perfect" and glorifying a religious view that Christianity is the only way to salvation. the professor says that he ,"will not preach to you", (the listener), however that is exactly what he does at many points in the lecture. There were many moments in the lecture which did have great insight and information so I am grateful to having it exist at all. It did provide a handful of "Ahah" moments that did broaden my understanding of his writings that I know and piqued my interests of those I have not read yet. Overall, I am happy to have listened to it, but it was not what I was expecting.