Timeline of the Life of C. S. Lewis
Timeline downloaded January 5, 2016, from http://cslewis.drzeus.net/bio/
- Born Clive Staples Lewis November 29 in
Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Albert James Lewis (1863-1929) and Flora
Augusta Hamilton Lewis (1862-1908). His brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis
had been born on June 16, 1895.
- The Lewis family moved to their new home, "Little Lea," on the outskirts of Belfast.
- Mother died of cancer on August 23,
Albert Lewis' (her husband's) birthday; C. S. Lewis (nicknamed "Jack")
and Warren sent to Wynyard School in England.
- Attended Campbell College Belfast for one term due to serious respiratory difficulties.
- Studied at Cherbourg School, Malvern
England, following Warren; remained remarkably poor in mathematics,
unlike his mother, but evidenced an increasing affection for
"Northernness" e.g. Wagner's music and Norse mythology. It was during
this time that he abandoned his childhood Christian faith.
- In April, Lewis met Arthur Greeves
(1895-1966), of whom he said, in 1933, "After my brother, my oldest and
most intimate friend." Extensive literary and philosophical studies
(Latin, Greek, French, German, and Italian) under the private tuition of
W. T. Kirkpatrick ("The Great Knock").
- Won scholarship to University College, Oxford.
- From April 26 until September, Lewis was
a student at University College, Oxford. He enlisted in the British
army during World War I and was billeted in Keble College, Oxford, for
officer's training. His roomate was Edward Courtnay Francis "Paddy"
Moore (1898-1918). Jack was commissioned an officer in the 3rd
Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, on September 25 and reached the
front line in the Somme Valley in France on his 19th birthday.
- On April 15 Lewis was wounded on Mount
Berenchon during the Battle of Arras. He recuperated and was returned to
duty in October, being assigned to Ludgerhall, Andover, England. He was
discharged in December 1918. His former roommate and friend, Paddy
Moore, was killed in battle and buried in the field just south of
- The February issue of Reveille contained
"Death in Battle," Lewis' first publication in other than school
magazines. From January, 1919 until June, 1924, he resumed his studies
at University College, Oxford, where he received a First in Honour
Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats
(Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in
- During the summer, Paddy Moore's mother,
Mrs. Janie King Moore (1873-1951) and her daughter, Maureen, moved to
Oxford, renting a house in Headington Quarry. Lewis lived with the
Moores from June 1921 onward. In August 1930, they moved to "Hillsboro,"
Western Road, Headington. In October, 1930, Mrs. Moore, Jack, and Major
Lewis purchased "The Kilns" jointly, with title to the property being
taken solely in the name of Mrs. Moore with the two brothers holding
rights of life tenancy. Major Lewis retired from the military and joined
them at "The Kilns" in 1932.
- From October 1924 until May 1925, Lewis
served as philosophy tutor at University College during E.F. Carritt's
absence on study leave for the year in America.
- On May 20, Lewis was elected a Fellow of
Magdalen College, Oxford, where he served as tutor in English Language
and Literature for 29 years until leaving for Magdalene College,
Cambridge, in 1954.
- Dymer, a book-length narrative poem, published under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton.
- Lewis became a theist: "In the Trinity
Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and
prayed..." Albert Lewis died on September 24.
- Lewis became a Christian: One evening in
September, Lewis had a long talk on Christianity with J.R.R. Tolkien (a
devout Roman Catholic) and Hugo Dyson. That evening's discussion was
important in bringing about the following day's event that Lewis
recorded in Surprised by Joy: "When we [Warnie and Jack] set out [by
motorcycle to the Whipsnade Zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ was
the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did."
- The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical
Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism was published. The
fall term marked the beginning of Lewis' convening of a circle of
friends dubbed "The Inklings." For the next 16 years, on through 1949,
they continued to meet in Jack's rooms at Magdalen College on Thursday
evenings and, just before lunch on Mondays or Fridays, in a back room at
"The Eagle and Child," a pub known to locals as "The Bird and Baby."
Members included J.R.R. Tolkien, Warnie, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams,
Dr. Robert Havard, Owen Barfield, Neville Coghill and others.
- At the suggestion of Prof. F.P. Wilson,
Lewis agreed to write the volume on 16th Century English Literature for
the Oxford History of English Literature series. Published in 1954, it
became a classic.
- The Allegory of Love: A Study in
Medieval Tradition was published, for which he receives the Gollancz
Memorial Prize for Literature in 1937.
- Out of the Silent Planet, the first novel in the Space Trilogy.
- At the outbreak of World War II in
September, Charles Williams moved from London to Oxford with the Oxford
University Press to escape the threat of German bombardment. He was
thereafter a regular member of "The Inklings."
- From May 2 until November 28, The
Guardian published 31 Screwtape Letters in weekly installments. Lewis
was paid 2 pounds sterling for each letter and gave the money to
charity. In August, he gave four live radio talks over the BBC on
Wednesday evenings from 7:45 to 8:00. An additional 15-minute session,
answering questions received in the mail, was broadcast on September 6.
These talks were known as "Right and Wrong."
- The first meeting of the "Socratic Club"
was held in Oxford on January 26. In January and February, Lewis gave
five live radio talks on Sunday evenings from 4:45 to 5:00, on the
subject "What Christians Believe." On eight consecutive Sundays, from
September 20 to November 8 at 2:50 to 3:05 p.m., Lewis gave a series of
live radio talks known as "Christian Behavior."
- Perelandra, the second novel in the
Space Trilogy, was published. In February, at the University of Durham,
Lewis delivered the Riddell Memorial Lectures (Fifteenth Series), a
series of three lectures subsequently published as The Abolition of Man.
- On seven consecutive Tuesdays, from
February 22 to April 4 at 10:15 to 10:30 p.m., Lewis gave the
pre-recorded talks known as "Beyond Personality." Taken together, all of
Lewis' BBC radio broadcast talks were eventually published under the
title Mere Christianity. From November 10, 1944 to April 14, 1945, The
Great Divorce was published in weekly installments in The Guardian.
- Charles Williams, one of Lewis' very
closest of friends, died on May 15. That Hideous Strength, the last
novel in the Space Trilogy, was published.
- Passed over for Merton professorship of
English Literature at Oxford, but was awarded honorary Doctor of
Divinity by the University of St. Andrews.
- Miracles: A Preliminary Study published.
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published.
- Prince Caspian, the second of the
seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. Mrs. Moore died on January
12. Since the previous April, she had been confined to a nursing home in
- The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader', the
third of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. In September, he
met Joy Davidman Gresham, seventeen years his junior (b. April 18, 1915
- d. July 13, 1960), for the first time.
- The Silver Chair, the fourth of the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published.
- The Horse and His Boy, the fifth of
the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published. In June, Lewis accepted
the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. He gave
his Inaugural Lecture, "De Description Temporum," on his 56th birthday
and gave his last tutorial at Oxford on December 3rd.
- The Magician's Nephew, the sixth of
the seven Chronicles of Narnia, was published, as was his biography
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life.
- The Last Battle, the seventh and final
book in the Chronicles of Narnia, was published (he receives the
Carnegie Medal in recognition of it), as was Till We Have Faces: A Myth
Retold. On April 23, he entered into a civil marriage with Joy at the
Oxford Registry Office for the purpose of conferring upon her the status
of British citizenship in order to prevent her threatened deportation
by British migration authorities. In December, a bedside marriage was
performed in accordance with the rites of the Church of England in
Wingfield Hospital. Joy's death was thought to be imminent because of
bone cancer. Joy had converted to Christianity from Judaism in 1948
partly under the influence of Lewis's books and divorced in 1953 due to
her husband's desertion.
- 1956 (23 April)
- Married Joy Davidman Gresham in secret
civil ceremony when British Home Office denied continuance of her
residency permit. Davidman had converted to Christianity from Judaism in
1948 partly under the influence of Lewis's books, met Lewis in 1952,
divorced in 1953 due to her husband's desertion and later developed bone
- 1957 (21 March)
- Married Joy in church ceremony at her hospital bed.
- Throughout 1957, Joy had experienced an
extraordinary recovery from her near terminal bout with cancer. In July
of 1958, Jack and Joy went to Ireland for a 10-day holiday. On August 19
and 20, he made tapes of ten talks on The Four Loves in London. Lewis
was elected an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford."Reflections on the Psalms was published.
- Subsequent to learning of the return of
Joy's cancer, Jack and Joy, together with Roger Lancelyn Green and his
wife, Joy, went to Greece from April 3 to April 14, visiting Athens,
Mycenae, Rhodes, Herakleon, and Knossos. There was a one-day stop in
Pisa on the return. Joy died on July 13 at the age of 45, not long after
their return from Greece. "Studies in Words" and The Four Loves were
- A Grief Observed, an account of his
suffering caused by his wife's death in 1960, published under the
pseudonym of N. W. Clerk. An Experiment in Criticism was also
- "They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses" was published.
- Lewis died at 5:30 p.m. at The Kilns,
one week before his 65th birthday on Friday, November 22, after a
variety of illnesses, including a heart attack and kidney problems. He
had resigned his position at Cambridge during the summer and was then
elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. His grave is
in the yard of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, Oxford. This
same day, American president John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Aldous
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