C. S. Lewis is one of the most famous names in the world of literature. The Chronicles of Narnia, one of his works, is perhaps among the best Novel series of all time. Amazingly enough, Lewis’s books have remained significant for over seventy years with the number of prints growing every year.
Many stage plays, movies, and films have attempted to give a summary of Lewis’s story. However, several facts remain untold about his life. In this article, we have compiled a list of ten interesting facts about C. S. Lewis.
Ten facts you didn’t know about C. S. Lewis
1. Despite his high association with English institutions, he was not English
Clive Staples (or simply C.S.) Lewis had a strong association with Cambridge and Oxford Universities. Because of this profile, many people have come to believe that he was English by birth. However, he was Irish, and this was even evident in his accent when he first went to school, an interesting fact about C.S. Lewis.
It is reported that his schoolmates and the headmaster made fun of the Irish accent. Like any other person, he started hating all English people in general because of such actions. However, after many years of interaction, he managed to overcome this prejudice and embraced both cultures.
2. His mother died when he was only nine years old
In 1908, when Lewis was only nine years old, his mother succumbed to cancer. This occurrence proved to be one of the most significant events in Lewis’s early life. As he states in his autobiography, the joy and security that he enjoyed from his mother were no more. Lewis felt like the whole world around him had sunk.
Perhaps due to the heavy burden, his father decided to send him and his brother to a boarding school. In effect, Lewis not only lost his mother but the love and care of his father. To make matters worse, the headmaster of the school was declared insane.
3. Lack of a two-jointed thumb impacted Lewis’s social growth
A two-jointed thumb is one of the main factors that separates us from other primates. C.S. Lewis did not involve himself in team sports because he lacked this feature. His grip mechanism lowered his chances of succeeding in such games and other basic activities, an unfortunate fact about C.S. Lewis.
His brother had the same problem, and they were subjected to ridicule from other students. As a result, his social growth was negatively impacted as he couldn’t interact with most of his schoolmates.
4. Lewis never learned to type
Contrary to most of the writers in his era, Lewis chose to use pens rather than a typewriter. One of the reasons might be the fact that he lacked a two-jointed thumb. Nonetheless, he was not interested in learning how to type. He claimed that the use of typewriters interfered with his creativity, and he chose not to employ this “mechanical mode of writing.”
5. He was quite shy when interacting with strangers
Perhaps due to lack of enough social interaction, his communication skills were greatly affected. Whenever he came across strangers, he talked less, and people saw him as a shy guy. However, Lewis was very vocal during debates or speeches in front of a large group of people. His mastery during such occasions is what made him quite famous. It is from such popularity that he was able to sell his literature without having to struggle with marketing.
6. Although he was passionate about Philosophy, he ended up teaching literature
Since his young age, Lewis had plans of building his career as a philosopher. He envisioned a time when he would be teaching philosophy at Oxford University. However, after his graduation, things didn’t work out as expected.
Due to lack of jobs in his preferred career path, he decided to remain at Oxford for an additional one year during which he pursued English Literature. Upon graduating with his second degree, Lewis went on to teach English Literature.
7. Lewis loved vigorous exercise
Lewis despised team sports because of how people looked down upon him. However, that does not mean he did not like training his body. He loved vigorous exercises such as taking rapid tromps over rugged hills. Lewis was also addicted to swimming, especially in cold ponds and streams, a fun fact about C.S. Lewis. Up until the beginning of World War II, Lewis would regularly engage in such exercises to keep himself fit.
8. Lewis was a people’s person
Throughout his life, Lewis loved people, and they loved him back because of his kindness and generosity. Despite going through a rough childhood, he bounced back and learned to live with those around him. Most of his income was given to charity and was passionate about helping the people in need.
As reported by his close friends, Lewis had a lot of money coming in from his literature and other businesses but chose to channel them to the poor. He never got rich from the royalties he regularly received.
9. He did not permit live-action versions of his literature
In the 1950s, there was still a lot to be done about technology. Lack of special effects that we enjoy today meant that some of the characters would be misrepresented. As such, Lewis opposed any attempt to recreate his work in a film or movie version, an interesting fact about C.S. Lewis. For instance, the Chronicles of Narnia would require robust visual effects that were not available at the time.
10. Lewis converted to Christianity later in his life
Whenever C.S. Lewis is mentioned, many people think he was brought up in Christianity due to some of his literature. On the contrary, Lewis was vocal against religion in his early life and made it public.
However, while teaching at Oxford University, Lewis converted to Christianity and started evangelizing. It was not long before he could combine his fictional creativity and Christian teachings.
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