Monday, November 29, 2010

Anniversaries - Louisa May Alcott and C.S. Lewis

On this day in 1832 Louisa May Alcott was born. Louisa May was an American novelist who is best known for her novel Little Women, which is set in the Alcott family home in Massachusetts. Little Women was loosely based on Louisa's childhood experiences with her three sisters, and it was published in 1868. I have reviewed a wonderful biography about Louis May Alcott which is called Beyond Little Women: A Story About Louisa May Alcott and you can also read my reviews of the four Little Women books on the Through the Looking Glass Book Reviews website


Sixty-six years after the birth of Louisa May Alcott, Clive Staples Lewis was born in Ireland on November 29, 1898. Commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was an Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist. He is also known for his fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy.

Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, and both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings.” According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England.” His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Gresham, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45.

Lewis died three years after his wife, as the result of renal failure. His death came one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he died on 22 November 1963 – the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died.

Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio and cinema.

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