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English 405

Spring 2019
English 405: The Imagination and Apologetics of C. S. Lewis, 3 credit hours
Belk 219, MWF 12-12:50 p.m. 


You will be both grieved and amused to learn that out of about 60 reviews [of Out of the Silent Planet], only 2 showed any knowledge that my idea of a fall of the Bent One was anything but a private invention of my own.  But if only there were someone with a richer talent and more leisure, I believe this great ignorance might be a help to the evangelisation of England: any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people's minds under cover of romance without their knowing it (letter to Sister Penelope, 9 August 1939)

[In all my books] there is a guiding thread.  The imaginative man in me is older, more continuously operative, and that sense more basic than either the religious writer or the critic.  It was he who made me first attempt (with little success) to be a poet.  It was he who, in response to the poetry of others, made me a critic, and, in defence of that response, sometimes a critical controversialist.  It was he who after my conversion led me to embody my religious belief in symbolical or mythopeic [sic] forms, ranging from Screwtape to a kind of theologised science‑fiction.  And it was of course he who has brought me, in the last few years, to write the series of Narnian stories for children (letter to the Milton Society, 28 December1954)

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else ("Is Theology Poetry?" Paper read at the Oxford University Socratic Club, 6 November 1944)

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Phone 828-545-3293

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course offers a comprehensive view of the life and works of C. S. Lewis with a focus upon how his imagination helped to shape his apologetics.  In addition to reading selections from his letters, journals, poems, fiction, non-fiction, and apologetics, students will view and discuss important new video productions in order to gain a perspective on the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of the most popular Christian author of the twentieth century.  Because Lewis has powerfully influenced so many people, this course will explore his approach to making Christianity intellectually reasonable, theologically winsome, and spiritually compelling.   



The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition (2015)
The Pilgrim's Regress (1933)
Out of the Silent Planet (1938)
The Problem of Pain (1940)
The Screwtape Letters (1942)

The Great Divorce (1945) 
Mere Christianity
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
Surprised by Joy (1955)
Till We Have Faces (1956)
The Four Loves (1960)
A Grief Observed (1961)
Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1966)


C. S. Lewis:  A Companion and Guide, Ed. Walter Hooper (1996)
Jack:  A Life of C. S. Lewis by George Sayer (1988; reprinted 1994)
C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse by Don W. King (2001)
A Handbook to Literature, Eds. William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th ed), Ed. Joseph Gibaldi.

Also, see Oxford Reference Online www.oxfordreference.com for some basic reference assistance.  It contains desktop access to 100 key Oxford dictionaries and reference works. The Core Collection brings together 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works - containing well over 60,000 pages - into a single cross-searchable resource.  Also, see the Oxford English Dictionary, the grandfather of all dictionaries at http://dictionary.oed.com 

COURSE OBJECTIVE: The central objective of this course is to discover the relationship between Lewis' imagination and his apologetics. As a part of our study we will focus on Lewis' poetry as well as letters and diary entries that reveal something of his imaginative life. Furthermore, we will consider how his prose, particularly his fiction, reflects a poet's eye, ear, and hand. In a related manner, we will see how his love of logos may have led him to a love for the Logos.  

In addition, we will discuss several questions as we move through the readings, including but not limited to:

  1. Why is Lewis's early passion to become a great poet important with regard to his entire work as a writer?
  2. What is Lewis' understanding of myth? How is his concept of myth different from the one commonly held? How does an understanding of his notion of myth inform a deeper appreciation of Lewis' work?
  3. What does "joy" mean for Lewis? How important is joy in his work? Can we trace its appearance in his work? Does his understanding of joy change over time? If so, how and why?
  4. What is Lewis' view of Scripture?  What important biblical/theological ideas does he explored in his imaginative and apologetic works?
  5. What are Lewis' strengths as a writer?  Weaknesses?
  6. What is the relationship between Lewis' faith in Christ and his activities as scholar, literary critic, social critic, and artist? What is a Christian scholar, Christian literary critic, Christian social critic, or Christian artist? Where does Lewis "fit" best?
  7. Are Lewis' apologetics "relevant" to a postmodern generation?  How so?  How not?
  8. What is the literary legacy of C. S. Lewis? How is his influence apparent? Is his a lasting contribution or a temporary one?


1.     That you read and analyze important imaginative and apologetic works of C. S. Lewis.  

2.     That you journal regularly regarding the Lewis works we are studying.

3.     That you write a comprehensive essay on Lewis and demonstrate your ability to gather information and present it effectively by combining summary with analysis, application with theory, and research with synthesis.

4.     That you engage in sustained research on Lewis.

5.     That you complete a creative project.

6.    That you write a book review on an important critical study of Lewis.

7.     That you learn to value the literature covered in this course as something that can enrich your life, revealing the complexity of the human experience and informing your spiritual life.


Week 1: Surprised by Joy, Spirits in Bondage, and selected poems; Lewis's life through WWI
Week 2: SJ, SB, Dymer, and selected poems; Lewis's life and conversion through 1931
Week 3: Myth and Christianity; The Pilgrim's Regress and selected poems

Jan. 31: Journal 1 due.
Week 4:  Science fiction, the Ransom trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, and selected poems.  
Week 5:  Theodicy and The Problem of Pain, and selected poems
Week 6:  Hell and Heaven; The Screwtape Letters and selected poems
Week 7:  Hell and Heaven; The Great Divorce and selected poems.
Feb. 28: Journal 2 due. 
Week 8: Apologetics, WWII, Mere Christianity and selected poems.
Spring Break 
Week 9: On writing; Of Other Worlds, selected letters, and selected poems.
Week 10: Spiritual formation, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Horse and His Boy, and selected poems.
Week 11: Joy Davidman and Lewis; The Four Loves and selected poems.
Apr. 5-7: Inklings Fellowship Conference; required attendance.
Apr. 10: Journal 3 due.
Week 12: Till We Have Faces and selected poems
Week 13: Lewis on a broken heart; A Grief Observed and selected poem
April 26: Book Review due
Week 14: Student projects and retrospective
 April 30: Journal 4 due.

EVALUATION: Your final grade in the course will be developed by the following:

  1. Class participation including regular attendance, quizzes, involvement in class and small group discussions, group projects, reading of assigned material, in and out of class short writing assignments, and attending the Inklings Fellowship Conference, Apr. 5-7, 2019, will count 50%.
  2. A book review of an assigned significant critical study related to the course (see the Bibliography) will count 10%. Due by 1 p.m. April 26, 2019 via email attachment.
  3. You will write a comprehensive essay in which you consider the most important ideas covered in the course. This paper will count 10% of your final grade; due by May 6, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. via email attachment.
  4. An approved individual creative project--including an oral presentation component in class--will count 10%; due on or before the final class meeting, May 4, 2019.
  5. Four journals done via Moodle based on your reading and responding to Lewis's books. As a rule of thumb, you should journal three to five times each week; the total number of words for each of the four journals should be 750-1,000. In your journals you should reflect, react, respond, question, speculate, and so on with regard to what you are reading. Journals will count 20%.
  6. There are a total of 1000 pts possible in the course. Final grades will be compiled using the following guidelines:  
    1000-900    A to A-
    899-800      B+ to B-
    799-700      C+ to C-
    699-600      D+ to D-
    599-0           F

LIBRARY: All students are encouraged to take advantage of the services and resources available from the library.  You can search the online catalog and the library’s databases by going to http://www.montreat.edu/library/. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: As you begin to do research, following journals may be helpful:

Journal of Inklings Studies, The Lamp-Post of the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society, VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center, MythloreCSL: The Newsletter of the New York C. S. Lewis Society, and Sehnsucht: The C. S. Lewis Journal.

Another good overview of Lewis resources is Andrew Lazo's http://www.andrewlazo.com/c-s-lewis-resources/

The two major collections of Lewis material are located at the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and at the Department of Western Manuscripts at the

Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, England.

In addition, many of the books listed below are on three-day reserve in the Bell Library, and the library holds other journals that may be of help in doing research for this course. Of much interest to you, however, will be the multiple resources available via electronic databases, especially JSTOR.


Into the Wardrobe: A C. S. Lewis Website: http://cslewis.drzeus.net/

The Chronicles of Narnia: http://www.narniaweb.com/

The C. S. Lewis Society of California: http://www.lewissociety.org/

C. S. Lewis: 20th Century Christian Knight: http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/04/cs-lewis-20th-century-christian-knight.html

The C. S. Lewis Institute: http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/

The C. S. Lewis Society of Madison: http://www.cslewismadison.org/conference.html

The C. S. Lewis Society of Chattanooga: http://cslewischatt.blogspot.com/

C. S. Lewis News: http://www.topix.net/who/c-s-lewis

C. S. Lewis Society of Frederick: http://frederickcslewissociety.blogspot.com/

Essential C. S. Lewis: http://www.essentialcslewis.com/

The C. S. Lewis Reading Room: http://www.tyndale.ca/seminary/mtsmodular/reading-rooms/theology/lewis




The Magic Never Ends (see http://www.crouseentertainment.com/)

The Life of C. S. Lewis (http://dod.org/Products/The-Life-of-C-S-Lewis-%28DVD%29__NV571.aspx).

Shadowlands (the 1983 BBC version; see http://www.episcopalmedia.org/).


Books about Lewis’ life:


Brown, Devin. A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2013.

Como, James T. C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Macmillan, 1979.

Davidman, Joy. Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman. Ed. by Don W. King. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.

Downing, David. The Most Reluctant Convert: C. S. Lewis’s Journey to Faith. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Green, Roger Lancelyn, and Walter Hooper. C. S. Lewis: A Biography. London: Collins, 1974.

Gresham, Douglas. Jack’s Life: A Memoir of C. S. Lewis. New York: Broadman Holman: 2005.

Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.

King, Don W. Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2008.

Lewis, C. S. All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis. Ed. by Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1991.

------. Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C. S. Lewis. Edited by Walter Hooper. London: Collins, 1985. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.

-------. Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: Family Letters 1905-1931. Edited by Walter Hooper. London: Harper Collins, 2000; Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2 : Books, Broadcasts and the War, 1931-1949:2004; Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950-1963: 2006.

  -------. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955.

Lewis, Warren. Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis. Eds. Clyde S. Kilby and Marjorie Lamp Mead. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982. 

McGrath, Alister. C. S. Lewis: A Life. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2013.

Poe, Harry Lee, and Rebecca W. Poe. C. S. Lewis Remembered: Collected Reflections of Students, Friends, and Colleagues. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

Sayer, George. Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. Revised, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994.

Zaleski, Philip and Carol. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015.


Books about Narnia:


Brown, Devin. Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005.

-------. Inside Prince Caspian: A Guide to Exploring the Return to Narnia. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008.

-------. Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Guide to Exploring the Journey beyond Narnia. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010.

Ditchfield, Christin. A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2003.

Downing, David. Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Ford, Paul. A Companion to Narnia. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994.

Hooper, Walter. Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnian Chronicles of C. S. Lewis. New York: Collier, 1979.

Karkainen, Paul. Narnia Explored: The Real Meaning behind C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1979.

Lindskoog, Kathryn. The Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land: The Theology of C. S. Lewis Expressed in his Fantasies for Children. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973.

Manlove. Colin. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Patterning of a Fantastic World. New York: Twayne, 1993.

Schakel, Peter. Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds.  Columbia, Missouri:  University of Missouri Press, 2002.

--------. Reading with the Heart: The Way into Narnia. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

Ryken, Leland and Marjorie Lamp Mead. A Reader’s Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis’s Classic Story. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

--------. A Reader's Guide to Caspian: A Journey in C. S. Lewis's Narnia. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Vaus, Will. The Hidden Story of Narnia: A Book-By-Book Guide to C. S. Lewis’ Spiritual Themes. Cheshire, CT: Winged Lion Press, 2010.

Ward, Michael. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.



For Out of My Bone, http://allaboutjack.podbean.com/e/out-of-my-bone-the-letters-of-joy-davidman-dr-don-king/
For Hunting the Unicorn, http://allaboutjack.podbean.com/e/ruth-pitter-biography-dr-don-king/ 
For Plain to the Inward Eye,
For The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis, http://www.essentialcslewis.com/2014/12/15/the-collected-poems-of-c-s-lewis-dr-don-king/
For A Naked Tree and Yet One More Spring,
Eerdmans' podcast on A Naked Tree and Yet One More Spring, http://eerdword.com/2016/01/20/the-eerdcast-episode-6-don-king/ 

Other helpful books:


Adey, Lionel. C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer, & Mentor. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Bremer, John. C. S. Lewis, Poetry, and the Great War 1914-1918. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2012.

Brown, Janice. The Lion in the Wasteland: Fearsome Redemption in the Work of C. S. Lewis, Dorothy L. Sayers, and T. S. Eliot. Kent OH: Kent State University Press, 2018.

Curtis, Carolyn and Mary Pomroy Key. Women and C. S. Lewis. Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2015.

Daigle-Williamson, Marsha. Reflecting the Eternal: Dante's Divine Comedy in the Novels of C. S. Lewis. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson,


Davidman, Joy. A Naked Tree: Love Sonnet to C. S. Lewis and Other Poems. Ed. Don W. King. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015.

Derrick, Stephanie L. The Fame of C. S. Lewis: A Controversialist's Reception in Britain and America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Dickerson, Matthew and David O’Hara. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2009.

Dorsett, Lyle. Seeking the Secret Places: The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004.

Downing, David. Planets in Peril : A Critical Study of C. S. Lewis' Ransom Trilogy. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.

Duriez, Colin: Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship. Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2003.

Edwards, Bruce, Ed. C. S. Lewis—Life, Works, and Legacy. 4 vols. Westport, CN: Praeger, 2007.

-------.The Taste of the Pineapple: Essays on C. S. Lewis as Reader, Critic, and Imaginative Writer. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988.

Glyer, Diana. The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2007.

Hart, Dabney. Through the Open Door: A New Look at C. S. Lewis. Nashville, TN: The University of Alabama Press, 1984.

Hooper, Walter.  C. S. Lewis:  A Companion and Guide.  London:  HarperCollins, 1996.

Howard, Thomas. The Achievement of C. S. Lewis: A Reading of His Fiction. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1980.

King, Don. C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2001.

-------. Plain to the Inward Eye: Selected Essays on C. S. Lewis. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2013.

-------. Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015.

Kort, Wesley A. C. S. Lewis: Then and Now. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.

Leconte, Joseph. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918. Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2015.

Lindsley, Art. C. S. Lewis’ Case for Christ: Insight from Reason, Imagination and Faith. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Martindale, Wayne. Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005.

------- and Jerry Root. The Quotable Lewis. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1989.

McGrath, Alister. The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

McSwain, Robert and Michael Ward. The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Menuge, Angus, Ed. C. S. Lewis: Lightbearer in the Shadowlands: The Evangelistic Vision of C. S. Lewis. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997.

Miller, Rod. C. S. Lewis and the Arts. Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2013.

Mills, David, Ed. The Pilgrims' Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Myers, Doris. Bareface: A Guide to C. S. Lewis’s Last Novel. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2004.

---------. C. S. Lewis in Context. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1994.

Nicholi, Armand M. The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life. New York: Free Press, 2002.

O'Flaherty, William. C. S. Lewis Goes to Hell: A Companion and Study Guide to The Screwtape Letters. Hamden, CT: Winged Lion Press, 2016.

Payne, Leann. Real Presence: The Christian Worldview of C. S. Lewis as Incarnational Reality. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1988.

Phemister, Mary Anne, and Andrew Lazo. Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.

Root, Jerry. C. S. Lewis and a Problem of Evil: An Investigation of a Persuasive Theme. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2009.

-------- and Mark Neil. The Surprising Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Nashville: Abingdon, 2015.
Santamaria, Abby. Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

Schakel, Peter and Charles Huttar, Eds. Word and Story in C. S. Lewis. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1991.

Schakel, Peter. Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds.  Columbia, Missouri:  University of Missouri Press, 2002.

--------. Reason and Imagination in C. S. Lewis: A Study of Till We Have Faces. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984.

Schultz, Jeffrey D. and John G. West, Eds. The C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.

Schwartz, Sanford. C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Starr, Charlie. The Faun's Bookshelf: C. S. Lewis on Why Myth Matters. Kent, OH: Black Squirrel Books, 2018.

Tandy, Gary. The Rhetoric of Certitude: C. S. Lewis's Non-fiction Prose. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2009.

Van Leeuwen, Mary Stewart. A Sword Between the Sexes? C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2010.

Vaus, Will. Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Walsh, Chad. C. S. Lewis: Apostle to the Skeptics. New York: Macmillan, 1949.

--------. The Literary Legacy of C. S. Lewis. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1979.

Ward, Michael and Peter S. Williams. C. S. Lewis at Poets' Corner. Eugene, OR; Cascade Books, 2016.

Werther, David and Susan. C. S. Lewis's List: The Ten Books that Influenced Him Most. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015.  

White, Roger, Judith Wolfe, and Brandon Wolfe, eds. C. S. Lewis & His Circle: Essays and Memoirs from the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

In addition, the summer 1998 and summer 2007 issues of The Christian Scholar's Review are devoted to Lewis. 

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: For all individual assignments students are expected to present their own work; documentation of research should follow the specific criteria as outlined in the MLA Handbook for Writer of Research Paper. Cases of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in either of failure of the assignment or of the course.  

FINAL COMMENTS: This syllabus and other details about the course, including your grades for the course, are available through the college's online platform, Moodle. Please feel free to contact me at 828-545-3293 or email me at dking@montreat.edu if you need help with any aspect of the course.

All students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available in the Writing Center, located adjacent to the Bell Library computer lab. 

I reserve the right to make minor changes to the syllabus and course requirements as we move through the semester.

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