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Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life…

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1955)

by C. S. Lewis

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4,225391,179 (3.91)102
  1. 30
    The Confessions by Augustine (2below)
    2below: For anyone interested in exploring spiritual autobiographies, Augustine's Confessions is a good example. Like Lewis, he begins by discussing his early life and how it shaped the development of his spiritual life as he got older. More verbose and theological than Lewis, especially after the conversion: Augustine devotes the remainder to an exegesis of Genesis.… (more)
  2. 00
    Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis (FFortuna)

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Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
Finished November 2016. Excellent book ( )
  rmcdevitt4 | Feb 3, 2017 |
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Brilliant, intellectual, stimulating testimony of God's transformative revelation in C.S. Lewis' life. A must-read for appreciating his other works more, as well as those of the Inklings. I want to read it again to absorb all of his brilliant, cleverly expressed insights in so many aspects of life.
  LittleSiesta | Oct 31, 2016 |
I might not have been surprised by joy as I read this book - it was far to factually autobiographical for me, and not what I expected - but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed parts of it. Both Lewis's description of his childhood education (and the hotbed of homo-eroticism that private boys-only schools were) was brilliant and non-judgemental and his glossed-over, but no less harrowing, account of his experience in WW1, provided an intriguing glimpse into a byone era.

Perhaps this was my biggest problem with the book - I expected a deeply inspiring, imaginative and very personal account of his spiritual awakening. Instead, this book is mainly autbiographical with a few paragraphs here and there covering his spiritual journey. Emotion was thin on the ground - intellectual scholarship was densely packed into each sentence.

Thanks to my long ago classical studies I could wade through the allusions without getting too lost, but still ... I wanted to be inspired, to feel what Lewis felt as he journeyed back to his God.

Instead, it took me nearly two weeks to struggle through it because as a rule, I don't read autobiographies. Ultimately, this was more biographical than it was spiritual and thus SURPRISED BY JOY didn't meet my expectations as a reader. ( )
1 vote JudyCroome | Oct 20, 2016 |
  CPI | Aug 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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Surprised by joy - impatient as the wind
To Dom Bede Griffiths, O.S.B.
First words
I was born in the winter of 1898 at Belfast, the son of a solicitor and of a clergyman's daughter.
"I am struck here by the curious mixture of justice and injustice in our lives. We are blamed for our real faults but usually not on the right occasions."
"The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation."
Our destination was the little town of -- let us call it Belsen [Watford] ê in Hertfordshire. "Green Hertfordshire", Lamb calls it; but it was not green to a boy bred in County Down. It was flat Hertfordshire, flinty Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire of the yellow soil. There I first knew bitter frost and stinging fog, sweltering heat and thunderstorms on the great scale. ... We bought sweets in drowsy village shops and pottered about on the canal bank or sat at the brow of a railway cutting watching a tunnel-mouth for trains. Hertfordshire came to look less hostile.
I was wrong in supposing that I desired Joy itself. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring. Inexorably Joy proclaimed, "You want something other, outside".
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Book description

I. The first years.

II. Concentration Camp.

III. Mountbracken and Campbell.

IV. I broaden my mind.

V. Renaissance.

VI. Bloodery.

VII. Light and Shade

VIII. Release.

IX. The great knock.

X. Fortune's smile.

XI. Check.

XII. Guns and good company.

XIII. The new look.

XIV. Checkmate.

XV. The beginning.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156870118, Paperback)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

This book is not an autobiography. It is not a confession. It is, however, certainly one of the most beautiful and insightful accounts of a person coming to faith. In this case, that person is C.S. Lewis and his path takes us from a childhood in Belfast through the loss of his mother, to boarding school and a youthful atheism in England, to the trenches of World War I, and then to life at Oxford, where he studied, read, and, ultimately, reasoned his way back to God. It is perhaps this aspect of Surprised by Joy that we—believers and nonbelievers—find most compelling and meaningful; Lewis was searching for joy, for an elusive and momentary sensation of glorious yearning, but he found it, and spiritual life, through the use of reason.

In this highly personal, thoughtful, intelligent memoir, Lewis guides us toward joy and toward the surprise that awaits anyone who seeks a life beyond the expected.

"Fascinating."—The Nation

"Lewis tempered his logic with a love for beauty, wonder, and magic . . . He speaks to us with all the power and life-changing force of a Plato, a Dante, and a Bunyan."—Christianity Today

"The tension of these final chapters holds the interest like the close of a thriller . . . God moves, indeed, in a mysterious way, and this book gives a brilliant account of one of the oddest and most decisive end-games He has ever played."—Times Literary Supplement

C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898–1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly, including The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, Mere Christianity, and Till We Have Faces.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:58 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Autobiography of the English theologian, novelist, and scholar, concerning his early years.

» see all 6 descriptions

Legacy Library: C. S. Lewis

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Ediciones Encuentro

3 editions of this book were published by Ediciones Encuentro.

Editions: 8474906628, 8474909007, 8474902371


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