READ EBOOK ♜ Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life ♼

This was interesting, but considering the very lengthy and detailed set up, the denouement was hasty and disappointing It barely brought together any of the varied strands he d investigated especially, his final treatment of Joy is relegated to one brief paragraph on the final page, and he fails to explain how Christianity satisfies fulfills this feeling He believes it does, as he says in Mere Christianity If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world But he could better have explained what N T Wright calls signposts and places where heaven and earth meet Or, as Van Til says so well Christianity standsin antithetical relation to the religions of the world, but it also offers itself as the fulfillment of that of which the nations have unwittingly had some faint desire. Isn t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back.everything is different I can easily mark this as my favorite autobiography It didn t drone on and on as most others do Starting out in his childhood, spreading through his years at Oxford and when he served as professor, and ending shortly after his conversion to Christianity, there was insight for almost every season of life I ve been a long time reader of many of the classic Lewis works Mere Christianity, Narnia, etc and even some lesser known works Till We Have Faces But after I read this intuitive book, His novels shine with a new light, and it brought my enjoyment of them to a whole new level FACTS ABOUT C S LEWIS He had a certain condition as a child where he couldn t move either of his thumbs Because of this, he wasn t able to do many things normal children do, such as using scissors, painting, building with blocks, etc It s this condition that drove him to read One of his favorite authors as a child and adult was George MacDonald He was one of the very few Christian authors he read He realized early on that there was something in MacDonald s writing that all the other books were missing Ultimately, this author played a large part in his conversion.See the full review with pictures at my blog, Literary Cafe READ EBOOK ☸ Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life ⚒ Surprised By Joy The Shape Of My Early Life Is A Partial Autobiography Describing Lewis Conversion To Christianity The Book Overall Contains Less Detail Concerning Specific Events Than Typical Autobiographies This Is Because His Purpose In Writing Wasn T Primarily Historical His Aim Was To Identify Describe The Events Surrounding His Accidental Discovery Of Consequent Search For The Phenomenon He Labelled Joy This Word Was The Best Translation He Could Make Of The German Idea Of Sehnsucht, Longing That Isn T To Say The Book Is Devoid Of Information About His Life He Recounts His Early Years With A Measure Of Amusement Sometimes Mixed With Pain However, While He Does Describe His Life, The Principal Theme Of The Book Is Joy As He Defined It This Joy Was A Longing So Intense For Something So Good So High Up It Couldn T Be Explained With Words He S Struck With Stabs Of Joy Throughout Life He Finally Finds What It S For At The End He Writes About His Experiences At Malvern College In , Aged Though He Described The School As A Very Furnace Of Impure Loves He Defended The Practice As Being The Only Chink Left Thru Which Something Spontaneous Uncalculating Could Creep In The Book S Last Two Chapters Cover The End Of His Search As He Moves From Atheism To Theism Then From Theism To Christianity He Ultimately Discovers The True Nature Purpose Of Joy Its Place In His Own Life The Book Isn T Connected With His Unexpected Marriage In Later Life To Joy Gresham The Marriage Occurred Long After The Period Described, Though Not Long After The Book Was Published His Friends Were Quick To Notice The Coincidence, Remarking He D Really Been Surprised By Joy Surprised By Joy Is Also An Allusion To Wordsworth S Poem, Surprised By Joy Impatient As The Wind , Relating An Incident When Wordsworth Forgot The Death Of His Beloved Daughter Great Finished yet again in November of 2017 And again in January of 2018. This book wasn t what I was expecting At first, I had expected it to be the story of how Lewis met his wife, Joy, as was portrayed in the movie SHADOWLANDS with Anthony Hopkins Upon learning that such was not the case, I then expected it to be a straight forward autobiographical account of Lewis life Wrong again Actually, SURPRISED BY JOY is a memoir about Lewis formative years More specifically, it deals with Lewis early rejection of Christianity and the manner in which he eventually returned to the fold Most of the book, however, is given to childhood reminiscences and reflections on various books that had an impact on him as a young man All that is well and good, but I found it a bit dull Early on in SURPRISED BY JOY, Lewis states that the best part of any biography is the stuff at the beginning, the stuff that deals with the subject in his or her youth This is where Lewis and I differ I m generally not all that interested in people s childhoods and would much prefer them to get on with talking about their life s work and accomplishments SURPRISED BY JOY doesn t really give us a glimpse into Lewis professional life, and that was what disappointed me about it That certainly doesn t make it a bad book just not my style As for the quality of the writing and the degree of insight throughout, it s every bit as brilliant as you d expect from a writer of Lewis caliber. Considering all the things we ve studied at New Saint Andrews and the way it keeps coming back to one thing I find it highly interesting that it was essentially C.S Lewis love of story that brought him to Christ If you think about it, story is what all of his experiences of Sehnsucht have in common Most of the Sehnsucht took place while reading poetry or literature, and if not, it was because it transported him to the places in those stories For example, looking up at the night sky took him to the great northern expanse of Norse Mythology and Balder the god.But why story Our parents read us stories as children, and, once we re old enough, we read them for ourselves And before you know it sometimes even before we can read or write we re making our own stories There must be something fundamental about it that modern man has difficultly grasping Incidentally, this may explain why my generation seems to hate reading so much and why modern culture as a whole is striving to recover a love for reading in children I think Lewis hit upon it when he described myths as lies breathed through silver We all long for stories and enjoy them so much because we are looking for that One Story in which we are all players That is why when Lewis realized that Christianity is a true myth the one story that is completely and utterly true his heart was won over and the rest of him promptly followed This is why Lewis is surprised by Joy All his life he believed the lies too good to be true, and then finally found the truth to be even better. C S Lewis, one of J R R Tolkien s best friends and creator of the Narnia Chronicles, among others Pure genius Period. Such a wonderful read A few thoughts and quotes I was delighted to see that Edith Nesbit and Beatrix Potter had a significant impact on Lewis childhood I appreciate Lewis discussion of the difference between wonder fantasy, and fantasy that s focused on wish fulfillment When the boy passes from nursery literature to school stories he is going down, not up Peter Rabbit pleases a disinterested imagination, for the child does not want to be a rabbit but the story of the unpromising boy who became captain of the First Eleven exists precisely to feed his real ambitions When it comes to modern fantasy novels, some fall in one category and some in the other many of them definitely appeal to the reader s inner desire for power Wow The HORRIBLE things that happened in British prep schools I wouldn t have believed in them all if they showed up in a modern novel No wonder the British upper class had a reputation for being a little dysfunctional When discussing the things that caused him to doubt Christianity as a youth, Lewis says, One came from reading the classics Here, especially in Virgil, one was presented with a mass of religious ideas and all teachers and editors took it for granted from the outset that these religious ideas were sheer illusion No one ever attempted to show in what sense Christianity fulfilled Paganism or Paganism prefigured Christianity The accepted position seemed to be that religions were normally a mere farrago of nonsense, though our own, by a fortunate exception, was exactly true The other religions were not even explained, in the earlier Christian fashion, as the work of devils That I might, conceivably, have been brought to believe But the impression I got was that religion in general, though utterly false, was a natural growth, a kind of endemic nonsense into which humanity tended to blunder In the midst of a thousand such religions stood our own, the thousand and first, labelled True But on what grounds could I believe in this exception This quote struck me It is difficult for parents and difficult, perhaps, for schoolmasters to realize the unimportance of most masters in the life of a school Of the good and evil which is done to a schoolboy masters, in general, do little, and know less Honestly, I think this is a good argument against putting one s child in a school just because the teachers are Christians Lutherans The other students and their families matter quite a bit, too The greatest service we can do to education today is to teach fewer subjects No one has time to do than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life I agree, but how are we to do this Which subjects should be tabled or cut It s startling to realize that Lewis would not have been able to attend Oxford if it weren t for a law exempting ex Service men from having to pass the mathematics test This is another book I will want to re read in the future. Okay, I started this today and finished it today, and will probably reread it This has happened with many of Lewis books I ve read The Four Loves several times and am getting ready to reread Miracles There often seems to be a lot that I don t get first time through.This is a wonderful book with some less than wonderful parts By that I mean discourses on difficult or unpleasant events and or topics I won t try to go over this volume in any kind of detail I suspect it will strike different readers in different ways The book communicated to me on several levels From surprise at the details about certain things in the British Public School system circa early 1900s and thankfulness that America was spared those parts to a realization that most people in the last 60 years or could be argued to have received almost no education The book is valuable simply on the level of a biography and personal account history My generation, for example, was the first where Latin and what was then called foreign languages became elective classes instead of simply being required In my generation basic math, reading, grammar skills, along with at least rudimentary knowledge of history, and social studies was required to pass from grade to grade and then graduate Aside from this however and on deeper levels the book deals with Lewis rejection of all things spiritual, mystical, metaphysical or religious and decision to become an atheist It then leads us through his life and reasoning from there to theism and then to Christianity.I could say a lot about this book but I can t in this limited space give an account that would come close to doing it justice Highly recommended. There s not much to say about this book, as it is famous, and has been reviewed many times It s about C S Lewis conversion from atheism to Christianity He identifies a quality which he calls Joy, which occurs in what he describes as a stab of joy This is the a moment of perfect happiness occasioned by well, it differs Lewis explains that he got three stabs of joy in his youth once from the a model garden in a biscuit tin lid that his brother had made, once while reading Beatix Potter s Squirrel Nutkin, and once catching a phrase from Longfellow s poem The Saga of King Olaf Lewis contends that these stabs of Joy are glimpses of the divine, and that they guided him inevitably to the Christian belief that characterized his later life.What s truly amazing about this book, to me, is how closely it follows my own life If I could identify three stabs of Joy that I ve experienced, I d say, first of all, from Lewis own Narnia books, particularly the episode when Lucy is reading from the magical book in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader second, oddly enough, from the James Bond movies I know that sounds weird, but something about the atmosphere of Goldfinger, especially encapsulated in the music, really caught me and thirdly, from Star Wars the 1977 film, not any of the subsequent movies.Like Lewis, I subsequently fancied myself an atheist, and for much the same reasons Lewis explains that he received a mature stab of Joy from the idea of Northernness that he got from the Norse mythology in Wagner I, on the other hand, got that stab of Joy from T H White s book The Once and Future King Lewis followed up on this by investigating Norse mythology closely, and subsequently stopped receiving stabs of Joy from it when it became an academic investigation isntead of something he did for pure pleasure Likewise with me and the Arthurian legend.Like Lewis, I struggled against becoming a Christian but, like Lewis, books in his case Chesterton and MacDonald, in mine the medieval Arthurian romances and friends in Lewis case, a plethora of friends including Owen Barfield, J R R Tolkien and other college friends, in my case, my wife prevailed.So, what really made me enjoy this book was recognizing the truth of what Lewis was saying in it And I recognized this truth, because his story pretty closely resembled my own.