Monday, April 02, 2007

C.S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia

At long last my daughters and I sat down with this 75 minute documentary feature included with the Chronicles of Narnia DVD. What a delight! It's the story of Lewis's life interwoven with themes and excerpts from all the Narnia books and punctuated with commentary from all sorts of people—literary names to former Oxford students to Douglas Gresham, Lewis's step-son. The visuals include clever animations of the Pauline Baynes original illustrations.

His conversion to Christianity is clearly presented, and much of the "first-person" narration seems to come from his autobiography, Surprised by Joy. Included were a couple of my favorite quotes from that book:
[on Atheism]
I was at this time living, like so many Atheists or Antitheists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.
[on Atheism and books]
A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere—"Bibles laid open, millions of surprises," as Herbert says, "fine nets and stratagems." God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.
[on his conversion]
You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him who I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not see then what is now the most shining and obvious thing: the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms.
Highly recommended.

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