The Completion of C. S. Lewis: From War to Joy (1945-1963), by Harry Lee Poe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, 413 pages, $34.16, cloth.
Sometimes work forces me to read. Lectures and sermons must be prepared, and reading is indispensable to the process. Whether I find the reading especially enjoyable or not, the commentaries and theological books and articles must be attended to.
But apart from work, I read mostly for pleasure, and Harry Lee Poe’s three-volume biography of Lewis has been for me sheer pleasure. In addition to surveying the life of one of the twentieth century’s great writers and formidable Christian apologists, I have had opportunity during the past year to read for the first time several of Lewis’s books. Others I reread, some for a third or fourth time. I sympathize with Lewis’s words to a friend: “You really lose a lot by never reading books again” (303).
The Completion of C. S. Lewis surveys the final eighteen years of Lewis’s life. The author’s literary output was impressive. Among the titles published during this period were The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–56), Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955), Till We Have Faces (1956), A Grief Observed (1961), Reflections on the Psalms (1958), and The Four Loves (1960). Numerous articles were later collected and published in several volumes, including God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (1970). Poe provides concise information about the books and articles, placing them in the context of Lewis’s unfolding life and the broader world of English literature. The circumstances of Lewis’s transition from Oxford to Cambridge are thoroughly reviewed.