C S Lewis: A Biography by A N Wilson - review by Patrick Taylor-Martin

Patrick Taylor-Martin

Sixty-a-Day Chap

C S Lewis: A Biography


Collins 352pp £15 order from our bookshop

There is now a thriving C S Lewis industry. It would be very surprising if this were the only book about Lewis to appear this year. Of course, there is also something of an A N Wilson industry. It would be equally surprising if this were the only book by Wilson to appear this year. A dozen novels, four biographies and vast quantities of miscellaneous writing to his credit, it can only be a matter of time before somebody gets round to writing a book about him.

The suggestion for this biography came from the publishers and from Walter Hooper, chief guardian of Lewis’s memory. One can understand why they felt that a distinguished Oxonian writer with Anglican predilections would be the ideal man for the job. Certainly, Wilson has produced a predictably intelligent and readable book. One cannot help thinking, however, that there was no great need for a new biography of Lewis.

All Wilson’s previous subjects – Scott, Milton, Belloc, Tolstoy – have been ripe for re-assessment or re-examination. In Lewis’s case, however, Wilson’s friend, Humphrey Carpenter, has already written a group biography of the Tolkien-Lewis-Charles Williams circle, The Inklings. Wilson’s book does not add much, if anything, to Carpenter’s portrait.

Of course,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter