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Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 15.30  
Retail Value $ 18.00  
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Item Number 160665  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   230
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1995
Publisher   Harcourt
ISBN  0151001855  
EAN  9780151001859  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The literary scholar and children's author recounts his journey from a youthful atheism to a thoughtful Christianity, his experiences in World War I, and his introduction to Oxford

Publishers Description
In this book Lewis tells of his search for joy, a spiritual journey that led him from the Christianity of his early youth into atheism and then back to Christianity. This book, together with his early diary All My Road Before Me, form the closest thing we have to an autobiography.

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More About C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis C.S. Lewis was a professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities who wrote more than thirty books in his lifetime, including The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Mere Christianity. He died in 1963.

C. S. Lewis was born in 1898 and died in 1963.

C. S. Lewis has published or released items in the following series...
  1. C.S. Lewis Signature Classics
  2. Chronicles of Narnia
  3. Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
  4. Radio Theatre
  5. Scribner Classics
  6. Shepherd's Notes
  7. Space Trilogy (Paperback)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent!  Jun 16, 2008
I have been looking for this book for a long time and i am glad it was so painless to get hold if it through this site. I am most impressed with the whole experience. Perfect and Painless..
Fascinating peak into C. S. Lewis's soul  Apr 12, 2008
One of the greatest Christian apologists ever, you may know, had been in his youth an atheist. This is the story of his journey from faithful, believing child to (paradoxically) myth-worshipping atheist adolescent, to unabashed Christian. If you have any interest in the man himself, Surprised By Joy is autobiographical and describes a lot of details that really seem secondary to his conversion. Very fun and interesting read.
A Humble Spokesman for Reality   Apr 12, 2008
Surprised by Joy is a prerequisite if one is to experience the maximum benefit of C.S. Lewis' apologetic works. That is, while one might not actually, and perhaps should not, read Surprised by Joy before some of his other titles it will certainly provide the reader with a new appreciation of Lewis' perspective. Throughout his life, as it is evident in his writing, Lewis returns time and again to face his own struggles, those questions born of his own thoughts, to explain and defend Christianity. As it might be imagined, some of the toughest questions that he ever presented were first shaped into a fit argument while he was confident that Christianity could not possibly be reality. Within this work, Lewis brings these difficulties to light, as well as his experiences which justified his thoughts at any given time and the thoughts which accompanied these experiences.

The education, thoughts, and experiences of Lewis' early life are valuable enough in themselves with regard to an understanding of his adult conviction. However, it is also seen, after reading this work, that it was not only the Christian conviction which became finely tuned in his adulthood. Those difficulties which, at one time, prevented Lewis from accepting Christianity also matured over time into well developed arguments, positioning themselves contrary to his Christian faith. This, some believe, is what makes Lewis such a valuable asset; not only in terms of his ability to make converts out of secular society, but as an educator of Christians seeking clarification. He did not convert and completely forget his previous beliefs, rather his beliefs from any time grew in their ability to persuade and he continuously applied that which he understood to be greater truth to effectively demonstrate why, even the most persuasive and articulate, counter arguments and philosophical alternatives simply fell short of Truth itself. It is for this reason; the fact that much of Lewis' reoccurring subject material stems from difficulties made aware to him in his youth, that Surprised by Joy will provide the reader with a greater appreciation for C.S. Lewis' life's work.

By the title alone, one might be led to believe that this is an autobiography portraying the time before Lewis embraced Christianity, and his path to conversion. It is true that this work is a revealing look into Lewis' early life and, what appear to be, most private thoughts. It is less about Lewis, however, than it is about the human struggle to achieve or even possess joy. Lewis seems to feel that any detail of his life, regardless of what the reader might want to know about him as a person, is willingly sacrificed if it does not somehow tie into his pursuit of joy. What might surprise the reader even more is that Lewis actually ends this work at a period of his life prior to his conversion to Christianity. Nevertheless, Lewis conveys the most trying obstacles in his journey, leading him to theism, while presenting the reader with enough information to bridge some of the, albeit few, personal gaps found in his presentations elsewhere. For a student of C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy is a must.
Fascinating look into the mind of an intellectual  Mar 20, 2008
Note that this review is for the Blackstone audio book narrated by Geoffrey Howard. I really enjoyed listening to this book, which is told in the first person. The narrator sounded just like I imagined CS Lewis to be. Initially his tone sounded to me like a stern professor, but it grew on me and ended up being perfect for this book.

I have always been fascinated with CS Lewis; initially as a child I read the Screwtape Letters and much later read the Chronicles of Narnia and then some of his Christian apologetic work. I love his style and I've always thought he had a brilliant mind. I wanted to learn more about his conversion to Christianity and bought this book to find out.

The story is sort of an autobiography, but focuses on his intellectual development as it relates to his becoming an atheist, then a theist, and finally a Christian. This all took place during his childhood through young adulthood. He lost his mother when he was young and never had a good relationship with his father. He didn't develop any true friends until later in his youth, so it was a difficult childhood. He would be termed a geek today; he hated sports and was a bookworm. His recounting of boarding school sounded horrifying. In fact, he describes fighting in World War I as less stressful.

The one thing that I found most interesting was his describing the affect various authors had on him and he found to his disappointment that the authors that impacted him the most were Christian; and that the atheistic authors didn't seem to have the same depth. The book is full of other remarkable insights and is worth reading. I highly recommend this book in either the audio or written format.
Pulling Back the Curtain  Jan 31, 2008
C.S. Lewis will forever be assoicated with the "Chronicles of Narnia", his seven books for children that were largely influenced by his early love for fairy stories and myths. Yet these novels are also a byproduct of Lewis's reluctant conversion to Christianity, a subject he explores in his autobiography "Surprised By Joy: The Shape of My Early Life". And while he may best be rememberd as the author of childrens' books, his wisdom and insight poured itself out into numerous works that examined what it means to be a faithful Christian in this world.

"Surprised By Joy" is not a read for everyone - one must certainly be a diehard C.S. Lewis fan to read this accounting of his life. The author begins with his birth and a brief family background before moving on to his school years and finally, late within the book, the story of his famous conversion. Lewis devotes much of his book to explaining just what did shape his early life - his first encounters with mythology and fairy stories, the first time he felt the pull toward atheism, the events that make up an ideal day, the people who had both positive and negative impacts on his life. At times he wanders off on tangents, making the reader wonder where he is heading. Some chapters are ponderous and difficult to read, while others move skippingly along the page. Yet all of the chapters are filled with Lewis' trademark wisdom and insight.

The conversion that C.S. Lewis experienced may be unique in the fact that it was an intellectual conversion before it ever became a religious conversion. Weighing the evidence, Lewis could no longer deny the existence of God, but it was a while before he actually found himself practicing that belief. I especially enjoyed his tale of finally making the connection that the authors he was most drawn to were authors who were religious and how he had failed to understand their intelligence before. "Surprised By Joy" is a window into the life of an astonishing man that no one but himself could have written, a tale that is imbued with every shade of its writer, a man who has finally come to terms with his maker.

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