Happy Birthday, Jack

Today is the 114th birthday of Clive Staples Lewis, but there is more to celebrate. Westminster Abbey has recently announced a memorial to Lewis will be placed in Poets’ Corner next fall, fifty years after his death. Alister McGrath offers his support of the decision in the Telegraph.

In the end, the poetic vision that Lewis never quite managed to actualise in his verse was found instead in his prose. Here we find one of the keys to his success as a writer – his ability to express complex ideas in simple language, connecting with his audience without losing elegance of expression. Lewis learnt this skill the hard way, partly through lecturing to aircrews during the Second World War. If you could not express something in simple language, Lewis later declared, it was because you had failed to understand it yourself.

Lewis is one of the best examples of a writer who took pleasure in the art of communication, melding simplicity and elegance in a way few could manage. His popular religious writings – such as The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity – combine these qualities, even though they cannot be counted as great literature.

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