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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Jerry Yarbrough


The type of person who has asked what this thesis was to be about has invariably also been the type of person who has heard of, formed an opinion about, and approved of C. S. Lewis. In fact, all who have been told the topic have heartily approved. It has been nothing like the experience an interested Electrical Engineer had while writing his master's thesis. Few people understood his topic, let alone could approve of it. In a Time article in 1946, Lewis was described as a "wise, witty, sad-faced Fellow of Oxford … ". A professor and tutor at Oxford for thirty years, Lewis taught courses in Medieval and Renaissance literature while also tutoring students. In 1944, he wrote a book entitled English Literature in the Sixteenth Century and became very well-known in some circles for his knowledge of the literature in the 16th century. He also published The Discarded Image, on medieval literature, and A Preface to Paradise Lost. He had already become famous in England during World War II through his Christian lectures on the BBC. In C. S. Lewis: A Biography, Green and Hooper write about Lewis's broadcasts, the first of which was called "Right and Wrong: A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe?" begun in August of 1941, each Wednesday night 's broadcast lasted fifteen minutes. In response to these talks, Lewis received so many letters that he was given an additional fifteen minutes at the end of the broadcast series in which to answer some letters. Lewis wrote to a friend about it: As the aftermath of those Broadcast Talks I gave early last summer I had an enormous pile of letters from strangers to answer. One gets funny letters after broadcasting--some from lunatics who sign themselves "Jehovah" … but many from serious inquirers whom it was a duty to answer fully. He would sometimes spend hours a day aside from his reputations as Oxford professor and renaissance expert, BBC speaker, and Christian apologist, he is famous for his novels. Even as a novelist, he is diverse: some know him primarily for his books for children such as The Chronicles of Narnia, a seven-book series; others know him as the author of adult novels. These science fiction/fantasy novels include out of the Silent Planet, a space trilogy; The Great Divorce, his rebuttal to Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; and The Screwtape Letters, the book which earned him more readers than anything else he would do, selling 200,000 copies within a couple of years of its publication and one and a half million books by 1980. Lewis wrote forty-two books, two short stories, almost fifty published letters, countless essays and pamphlets, and nearly seventy poems (under the name Nat Whilk or N. W.). The scope of Lewis 's work can be very intimidating. But the man himself was not.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Lewis, C.S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963. Screwtape letters

Lewis, C.S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University