Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist. According to Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptised in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence.
He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925–1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954–1963). Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England".
After all, there is no doubt, ami, that the Irish are the only people: with all their faults, I would not gladly live or die among another folk." On the other hand, Paul Stevens of the University of Toronto has written that "Lewis's mere Christianity masked many of the political prejudices of an old-fashioned Ulster Protestant, a native of middle-class Belfast for whom British withdrawal from Northern Ireland even in the 1950s and 1960s was unthinkable." After his training, he was commissioned into the Third Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry of the British Army as a Second Lieutenant.
On his nineteenth birthday he arrived at the front line in the Somme Valley in France, where he experienced trench warfare for the first time.
He suffered from depression and homesickness during his convalescence and, upon his recovery in October, he was assigned to duty in Andover, England.
He was demobilised in December 1918 and soon restarted his studies.
The New House is almost a major character in my story.
I am the product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstair indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Lewis was schooled by private tutors until age 9, when his mother died in 1908 from cancer.
In 1916, Lewis was awarded a scholarship at University College, Oxford.He was then sent to the health-resort town of Malvern, Worcestershire, where he attended the preparatory school Cherbourg House, which Lewis calls "Chartres" in his autobiography.It was during this time that Lewis abandoned his childhood Christian faith and became an atheist, becoming interested in mythology and the occult.As a teenager, Lewis was wonder-struck by the songs and legends of what he called Northernness, the ancient literature of Scandinavia preserved in the Icelandic sagas.These legends intensified an inner longing he later called "joy".