A Timeline of C.S. Lewis’ Major Talks

I have been interested for a while in working with precision on C.S. Lewis’ timeline. Joel Heck has a detailed 1100-page chronology, which includes all the verifiable facts in C.S. Lewis’ life. Prof. Heck joins other Lewis biographers and academic researchers, all of whom have used Walter Hooper’s collection of resources (listed below).

Rather than the fullest possible view, what I have been trying to do is capture aspects of Lewis’ public life. For example, I provided “My Cheat Sheet of C.S. Lewis’ Writing Schedule,” which is the resource I use to keep Lewis’ publications and writing periods straight. I worked that into “The Periods of C.S. Lewis’ Literary Life,” which Joe Hoffman was able to supplement. I had done some early statistical analysis of C.S. Lewis’ letter-writing, which was part of a public discussion here and here (again, with Joe Hoffman).

I have been wanting to enhance these flirtations with digital humanities resources to look at historical and literary materials. I have some larger projects in mind, including some “distant reading” of some of C.S. Lewis’ writing, as well as a comprehensive tool that lays Lewis’ life out in time and space, including photographs, audio clips, film clips, short docs, literary samples, book covers, maps (with videos of pertinent locations), and other digital features. I think this could be a beautiful and helpful tool for students of C.S. Lewis and the Inklings.

This last project is quite frankly huge and will need a significant grant if I am to pull it off. In the meantime, though, I thought I would try some software out on smaller projects. I made an interactive timeline that focusses on some of Lewis’ most influential sermons, lectures, and talks. To do this I used the Timeline app by Knight Lab. It is a pretty usable tool, though it does not embed in the online version of WordPress, unfortunately. Still, you can click here and enjoy the entire timeline of Lewis’ major talks.

Walter Hooper Bibliography For C.S. Lewis Research

  • C.S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
  • The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Vol. 1: Family Letters 1905-1929. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.
  • The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Vol. 2: Books, Broadcasts, and the War 1931-1949. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.
  • The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Vol. 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. HarperSanFrancisco, 2007.
  • “The Lectures of C.S. Lewis in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.” Christian Scholar’s Review 27.4 (1998): 436-453.
  • With Roger Lancelyn Green, C.S. Lewis: A Biography. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974.


About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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15 Responses to A Timeline of C.S. Lewis’ Major Talks

  1. Josiah Peterson says:

    What a fantastic idea. Thank you for putting this together. I hope you will be able to get a grant and do the rest of it. I’d add “Learning in War Time” to your timeline as well when you get the chance. It was the first talk (so far as I’m aware) that Lewis gave at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Oxford, preceding “Weight of Glory” by two years and is one of his earliest “sermons.”

    On Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 8:24 AM A Pilgrim in Narnia wrote:

    > Brenton Dickieson posted: ” I have been interested for a while in working > with precision on C.S. Lewis’ timeline. Joel Heck has a detailed 1100-page > chronology, which includes all the verifiable facts in C.S. Lewis’ life. > Prof. Heck joins other Lewis biographers and academic res” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Josiah, I have thought of that. I wanted to test the capability of the software. They suggest only 20 slides, which I surpassed. I also wanted to think about what readers valued, talk-wise. “A Slip of the Tongue” or “Fern-seed and Elephants” are also important, or the SciFi one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I hope it’s not ‘telling tales out of school’ to mention that I heard from Arend Smilde the other day that he is doing what strikes me as some very interesting work on some of Lewis’s shorter ‘papers’ (if that’s a good word for his subject) – I’m not sure to appear where (I suppose in ‘traditional’ print), but perhaps he’ll be willing to say more, himself (in due season).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    As I should have begun by saying, this looks very interesting, though I should probably recruit someone ‘higher tech’ than myself to walk me through it, to begin with! The contemplated “comprehensive tool” sounds fascinating – best wishes for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joviator says:

    Cool! It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the arrow keys were the easiest way to go. Does that software limit users to points in time, or can it do durations?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it can stretch out in time, but I don’t know what it looks like. You can probably guess that “C.S. Lewis’ Writing Timeline” is a project in the works, but much more complex. I’m trying to decide if this is the software for it. This is nice, but yes, the arrows are best.

      Liked by 1 person

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