C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential and beloved Christian authors of the 20th century, leaving a legacy of literary criticism, fiction, poetry, apologetics, and correspondence. His Chronicles of Narnia are immensely popular family reading and have spawned movies and plays; his Mere Christianity is one of the great apologetic works of our age but easy to read; his Allegory of Love is still considered a seminal work of medieval criticism.Books Covered:
Most Christians know of Lewis, many have read him, and no one can disregard his influence on modern Christianity in the western world. He was on the cover of Time magazine (September 8, 1947), he was elected to the Order of the British Empire by George VI in 1951 (though he declined the honor), in 2008 The London Times named him 11th on their list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945, he is recognized in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, movies have been made of his life (e.g. Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis), he has positively affected relations between Christian denominations (Touchstone Magazine: A Journal of Mere Christianity is one excellent example), and his influence only continues to grow. He is well worth studying.
In this online class, which runs a full academic year, we will familiarize ourselves with Lewis's thought by our private reading, and by discussing together in class, the following works covering most of the areas in which he wrote.
Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis, by George Sayer
Surprised by Joy
The Pilgrim's Regress
The Problem of Pain
A Grief Observed
Letters to an American Lady
Letters to Malcolm
The Great Divorce
The Four Loves
Till We Have Faces
Out of the Silent Planet
That Hideous Strength
The Discarded Image
A Preface to Paradise Lost
The Abolition of Man
The Weight of Glory
God in the Dock
Reading will average 150-250 pages per week or 30-50 pages per day, so up to an hour and a half of reading per day should be expected (but hey, it's Lewis!). There will be a special forum board for the class on which students will post short written personal responses (non-graded) to the reading, to any assigned questions, and to the class discussion; there will also be one final paper on a book or theme from Lewis's writing.
Course Prerequisites and Audience
The class is open to everyone aged 16 and up, students and adults alike, but the student should be a good reader with some experience of Greek, Roman, and Medieval history and literature (i.e., the equivalent of Schola GB1, 2, and 3, or the Old Western Culture curriculum or something like those), for the sake of the greater historical context, though this is not a strict requirement. The older the student, the more he or she will get out of this course (but that's true of most studies), so adults, college age and up, are warmly encouraged to join the class as well as high school age students 16 and older.
The books listed above and required for the course can be found and ordered from the Schola Bookstore page (Lewis page not completed yet), but many people have a lot of Lewis around the house and any edition you already have should be satisfactory.To Register
Go to the Online Tutorials page for information on fees, registration, contacting the instructor, and other information.
If you're interested in the course but the scheduling is a problem, note that the class will be recorded and you can purchase access to the recordings to listen to at your leisure. The fee for this is half the regular tuition.