Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C.S. Lewis

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Read Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life Online Free - 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 1913, aged 15. 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.



Title : Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0006280838
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 185 pages


Reviews


Nathan rated it ★★★★☆

April 06, 2009

C.S. Lewis, the man that "thought his way to God" (according to the back of the book), isn't really all man - he's part reading machine. Everything, every sentence, in his spiritual autobiography is laden with some classical allusion to a work that the normal person hasn't read in Greek or Latin....


Mike (the Paladin) rated it ★★★★★

January 04, 2012

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 wi...


Mark rated it ★★★★★

June 07, 2009

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 happines...


Madelyn rated it ★★★★★

July 11, 2016

"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...


Brittany rated it ★★★★☆

July 10, 2012

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 c...


Olivier rated it ★★★★★

February 09, 2017

C. S. Lewis, one of J. R. R. Tolkien's best friends and creator of the Narnia Chronicles, among others. Pure genius. Period.


David rated it ★★★★☆

August 03, 2015

Not quite an autobiography 24 May 2014 It is a little difficult to categorise this book since while in part it is an autobiography, Lewis goes to great pains to exclaim otherwise. One could also suggest that it falls into a category of Christian literature known as a testimony: a story that is tol...


Morgan rated it ★★★★★

January 19, 2016

Interesting to read immediately after The Pilgrim's Regress. I could see how the latter was an allegorical representation of his own conversion. I only wish he'd written a regular autobiography as well, for I'm very interested to hear of his later life in his own words. Recommended for: Ages 15...


John rated it ★★★☆☆

May 07, 2013

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 Lewi...


Courtney rated it ★★★☆☆

February 18, 2015

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 fa...





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