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Paperback Jack Book

ISBN: 0891077618

ISBN13: 9780891077619


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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

As I walked away from New Buildings, I found the man that Lewis had called "Tollers" sitting on one of the stone steps in front of the arcade. "How did you get on?" he asked. "I think rather well. I... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Feast for the Literary

Written by Lewis' student and later in life friend, Sayer gives the reader a thorough review of his mentor's life. More than a biography, Sayer includes material about the context of Lewis' life, including the Belfast culture he was born into, the academic culture in which Lewis lived and sometimes struggled, and interpersonal relationships that some have wondered about. What is missing in detail is Lewis' time sent in the military in World War I though the author states Lewis wrote and spoke little about it. He reveals a different perspective on Lewis' childhood which is less negative than Lewis wrote. While the reader does not need to have read all of Lewis' writings prior to reading this book, it is helpful to have some general knowledge about them. Sayer covers them, including his poetry, in some detail, their development and influences. The impact of his outspoken faith on the progress or lack of progress from a professional perspective is sometimes overlooked due to his increasing fame following the publication of the Narnia series. It was interesting to learn of his struggles and disappointments in this area of his life. I would recommend this book for any reader interested in more detail of Lewis' life. It does not read as a 'popular' book and therefore it is not a quick read. Lewis made a great contribution to an appreciation of Christianity and beauty/literature which is developed by this author. My favorite quotes of Lewis that I read in this book are these: "In reading great literature I become a thousand men (and I would add women) and yet remain my self. Like the night sky in a Greek poem, I see with a thousand eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself: and am never more myself than when I do." from "An Experiment in Criticism" "...The miracle is done And for one little moment we are one With the eternal stream of loveliness ... Only a moment. O! but we shall keep Our vision still. One moment was enough, ... For we have seen the Glory--we have seen." from the poem "Dungeon Grates"

Wonderfully Written

I have often expressed my love of biographies. I consider them to be among the most helpful of resources in helping equip Christians in their lifelong quest for Christ-likeness. We can learn much from the examples of those who have run the race before us. We can learn from what God taught them, learn from their triumphs and learn from the times they were defeated. I have a passion for biographies. I also have a passion for the English language. I love to see how we can use the language to craft works of art. I cannot express myself in the fine arts - music and art are both disciplines that escape me. But I consider myself a wordsmith-in-training. These two loves come together in Jack, a biography of C.S. Lewis written by a veritable master of the English language. George Sayer had what was probably a unique privilege - he met C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien at the same time. He studied English under the tutelage of both of these men while at Oxford University. He became friends with Lewis, growing closer as they grew older. As a friend he provides a unique perspective on what is surely a unique individual. I have never had the interest in and respect for C.S. Lewis that so many Christians afford him. Perhaps it is that I tend to see in black and white. Lewis exemplified some of the best and yet some of the worst in his understanding of Christianity. It seems that for every major doctrine he so brilliantly defended, there was another that he denied. For every brilliant insight there is a terrible oversight. Jack provides a glimpse into Lewis' life. This, combined with penetrating analysis from one who knew him well, makes this biography not only fascinating, but very credible. Sayer covers all of the foundational parts of Lewis' life - the death of his mother, his education, his infatuation with Mrs. Moore and his conversion to Christianity. The author looks also at most of Lewis' major writings. Having spent so much time with his subject, Sayer is even able to describe an average day in the life of C.S. Lewis - just the type of detail that is interesting, but is absent from most biographies. The detail, while interesting and often even necessary, is sometimes almost uncomfortable. Sayers goes so far as to detail Lewis' personal struggles with masturbation and fantasy as a youth, and his later fascination with his wife's body. Yet he does this not merely for the sake of being explicit, but always to help us better understand Lewis. He seeks to help the reader understand Lewis not just as an author, but as a person. He wants to show Lewis in the good times as well as the bad. He seeks to show Lewis as he really was. Thoroughly-researched and exquisitely-written, this is a brilliant biography of a figure whose importance to Christianity seems to be growing, even forty years after his death. With a major movie series coming to theatres beginning this year, we will surely hear a lot more about Lewis than ever before. While many biographies have bee

Best biography of C. S. Lewis

At one time I had read most of the biographies out there on C. S. Lewis. This one is by far the best. Sayer had a long friendship with Lewis and tells what he knows about Lewis and does not theorize about what he does not know. The reader feels the warmth and respect Sayer has for Lewis and also the puzzlement one has with close friends whose strange behaviors in the past are not fully explained. Sayer addresses the C. S. Lewis's friendship with Tolkien, Dyson and other Inklings. Sayer does a good job of relating Lewis's conversion to Christianity. Sayer explains the arguments and personal struggles that surrounded the conversion. Sayer writes about Joy and Mrs. Moore, which gives a more fuller and more generous picture of both women than some other biographies. Sayer has the background for literary criticism and writes about Lewis's poetry, the Chronicles of Narnia and most of his other writings. The style of the writing is easy to read and accessible. It is a very enjoyable read.

The Definitive Biography on Lewis

I first read this work in the early nineties and thought it was good. I recently re-read it and realize, it is not merely good, it is great. Sayer has, without a doubt, written the definitive biography on the 20th century's greatest thinker.The book brings the reader on an intimate journey through the life of Lewis, often times with stunning detail. From Lewis' parents and his childhood, his education, teaching career, and friendships, to his life at the Kilns, the meetings (as well as the people) in and with the Inklings (a particular favorite section of mine), and his life work, marriage to Joy and how he carried on without Joy. Sayer also details how Lewis actually created certain works such as his Narnia series. Also, his radio broadcasts are detailed as well as his lectures given to the public. Moreover, he details several of Lewis' close friends (mainly from the Inklings) who read his manuscripts and offered certain advice. Sayer describes those who inspired Lewis when he read (e.g. George MacDonald, William Morris, etc.) and those who helped Lewis throughout his writing career.Who else could possibly tell the story of Lewis' life than one of his colleagues. Sayer knew Lewis and had developed a strong friendship with Lewis through education and through participating in several meetings with the Inklings. If you want to know more about Lewis not only on an intellectual level but a deeper personal level as well (i.e. really get the know the man Lewis), then you will need no other biography besides this one. I highly recommend this work.

An outstanding and loving tribute. . .

. . .to one of the top Christian writers of the 20th century.George Sayer knew CS Lewis from 1934 until Lewis' death in 1963, first as a tutor, later as a friend, and finally as an extremely close friend.While other biographies have been written by persons with axes to grind or by persons whose own connection to Lewis was minimal, Sayer writes from the perspective of a true insider.While he minces no words -- the "difficult" aspects of Lewis' life are certainly explored in-depth, he treats the subject with respect and true affection.Mr. Sayer is, himself, a career academic in the field of English, and thus is able to enlighten the casual reader about aspects about the "literary Lewis" which would otherwise not be recognized. I've been a Lewis fan for 25 years and yet was unaware of his significant contributions in the field of literary criticism. Also enjoyable was the discussion of Lewis' own tastes in reading as well as his major influences.While the influence Charles Williams had on Lewis (especially in "That Hideous Strength") was addressed, I was disappointed that Tolkien's influence on Lewis was minimized. This was, I believe, an oversight.All in all, though, I highly recommend this extremely readable volume.
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