"From Oxford to Narnia" Library Exhibition

    The University of Delaware Library announces a new exhibition “From Oxford to Narnia: The Literary World of C.S. Lewis” which will be on display in the Information Room of the Morris Library from Tuesday, September 21, 2010 through Friday, December 17, 2010.
    Clive Staples “Jack” Lewis (1898-1963), a fellow at Madgelen College of Oxford University and later a Cambridge University professor, published a wide variety of literature in his lifetime, including fiction, science fiction, essays about Christianity and other topics, literary criticism, poetry, lectures and letters. Often characterized by his perceptive logic and much admired imagination, part of what makes Lewis a widely-read writer is the breadth of his work. He is perhaps best known as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia children’s book series. The recent major Hollywood movie adaptations have made the series popular with a new generation. The third film in this series, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is scheduled for release in December 2010.

    Since his death in 1963, collections of letters, essays and other previously unpublished works have appeared in print as well as an ever increasing amount of Lewis analysis, criticism and biography. The University of Delaware Library has a rich collection of all of these kinds of C.S. Lewis related material in the general collection, in Special Collections and in the Instructional Media Collection.

    Known in the academic world for his expertise on medieval and renaissance English literature, Lewis’s books of literary criticism include the volume on the sixteenth century of the Oxford History of English Literature series and A Preface to Paradise Lost. Lewis’s fame first came through writings and radio broadcasts about Christianity. The BBC asked Lewis to give radio talks on Christianity at the height of World War II. These broadcasts and books such as The Screwtape Letters catapulted him to fame in Britain and America. He later edited the text of the BBC radio talks into the extremely influential Mere Christianity. On the strength of this and several other books, Lewis is now widely regarded as one of the most important authors of the twentieth century writing on Christianity. 

    Readers of Lewis are often fascinated with his personal life, especially his marriage to author Joy Davidman Gresham. A bachelor until his 50s, he fell deeply in love with Joy only to lose her to death after four years of marriage, a story which has been dramatized in the play and later film versions of Shadowlands.

    “From Oxford to Narnia” features materials related to Lewis’s academic life and literary criticism, writings about Christianity, Narnia and other works of fiction and glimpses of Lewis’s personal life including his marriage to Joy Lewis. On display will be many literary works written by Lewis as well as works about Lewis, photographs and related media items.

    The curator of the exhibition is Richard Campbell, library generalist in the Student Multimedia Design Center of the University of Delaware Library.

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