5 C.S. Lewis Biographies for 5 Different Readings: A 10 Minute Book Talk by Brenton Dickieson

This video brings together two series, the 10 Minute Book Talk with Dr. Brenton Dickieson (i.e., me), on Youtube, and what I want to do as a 5 Books Series here on http://www.aPilgrimInNarnia.com. I have had this video done for a while but still haven’t worked out any other part of the series. So I am pre-launching the series because I think this is a helpful video, and I get more questions about this topic than anything else.

Here, I talk about 5 biographies of C.S. Lewis, each with a different way of looking at his story. The conversation includes:

#1 A personal biography by student and friend, George Sayer, Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis
#2 A baseline critical biography by Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
#3 A controversial biography from a skeptical angle, A.N. Wilson, C.S. Lewis: A Biography
#4 A literary biography by American public intellectual Alan Jacobs, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis
#5 A biography of the spiritual life, Devin Brown, A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C.S. Lewis

I also make some comments about some other biographies of and books about C.S. Lewis, just because I’m not good at sticking with 5!

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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23 Responses to 5 C.S. Lewis Biographies for 5 Different Readings: A 10 Minute Book Talk by Brenton Dickieson

  1. I liked Alister McGrath’s biography. I like McGrath’s writing style (even though I often dislike his ideas, he writes elegantly).


    • McGrath sort of intimidates me, reading 20+ books per week and writing a book every year or two. Increadible. I wish this book was more exciting, but perhaps I’m not reading it in my mind with a good enough voice. It is a tight writing script.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If it’s any consolation, before reading this reply, I just wrote my other reply about the number of books you’ve already read this year 😊

        Authorial voice is so important. When I read Ronald Hutton’s books I can hear them in his voice (when he gives a talk, it’s in the same style as the books, which helps). He also writes very well indeed.


  2. libearyn says:

    This was so helpful and well done. Thank you!


  3. Not a biography, but I really enjoyed “Becoming Mrs Lewis” (recent novel about Joy Davidman).


    • Yes, Yvonne, I generally liked that novel too. There is much historical in it, but I could never quite see Joy’s personality itself there. Many people think I am wrong about this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I must get around to reading Surprised by Joy and some of her poetry.

        I was looking at your Goodreads book count and noted that so far this year you’ve already read the same number of books that I read last year. (I used to read a lot more books when commuting by bus!)


  4. Many thanks for this, Brenton. I enjoyed listening to it and I think that I would like to read the Devin Brown. I have read the A.N Wilson. For years I have been used to hearing him discoursing cynically, in his highly cultured and carefully crafted accent, on all kinds of issues and it was only in coming across a recent film about T.S Eliot that I realised with some shock that he had returned to his early Christian faith.


  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Tangential question – I’m still consulting the first edition of Paul Ford’s Companion to Narnia for the (likely) composition history of the chronicles, though (unless I missed it) he doesn’t document how he arrived at it – what do ‘we’ (as opposed to I!) know of the current state of this matter? (E.g., I keep reading refs to McGrath’s redating of Lewis’s conversion(s) – does he redate lots of other things I should know about, including Narnia? I’ve yet to read the latest three of these five biographies…)


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