cover image The Completion of C.S. Lewis: From War to Joy (1945–1963)

The Completion of C.S. Lewis: From War to Joy (1945–1963)

Harry Lee Poe. Crossway, $34.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4335-7102-2

The stellar closing volume of Union University professor Poe’s biographical trilogy on C.S. Lewis (after The Making of C.S. Lewis) looks at the final 18 years of the author’s life. Pulling from Lewis’s letters, diaries, and ephemera, Poe crafts a meticulous account of Lewis’s later years, beginning with his efforts to honor his late friend, poet Charles Williams, by spearheading a collection of essays that doubled as a roll call for a literary network that included J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, and T.S. Eliot, whom Lewis loathed but invited to contribute out of deference to Eliot’s friendship with Williams. Fans of Lewis’s work will delight in stories about the creation of some of his most famous books, including how Lewis burned an early manuscript of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe after frosty reactions from fellow writers, as well as his struggle for control over the radio broadcasts that later became the theological treatise The Four Loves. Poe portrays the figures in Lewis’s life in vivid detail, examining at length the suffering of his alcoholic but devoted brother, Warnie, and the persistent health issues of Lewis’s elderly and exasperating friend, Janie Moore. The author’s command of primary sources coupled with a rigorous knowledge of the expansive secondary literature on Lewis lend this erudition and insight. This accomplishes the difficult feat of bringing a fresh perspective to the oft-studied Lewis. (Oct.)