10 FASCINATING FACTS about C.S. Lewis you didn’t know

He is one of Ireland’s most iconic literary greats, and here are ten facts about C.S. Lewis you might not have known.

10 FASCINATING FACTS about C.S. Lewis you didn’t know.

C.S. Lewis is a renowned author and scholar who gave the gift of The Chronicles of Narnia to the world.

Inspired by the beauty and intrigue of his hometown, The Chronicles of Narnia books, first published in 1950, have a long-standing reputation as some of the most iconic stories in children’s literature of all time.

To celebrate his birthday, 29 November 1898, we are going to take a look at some fascinating facts about C.S. Lewis you might not have known.

10. He was born in Belfast – born 29 November 1898

C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Ireland

The people of Belfast are very proud to boast of being the birthplace of C.S. Lewis. Belfast and the surrounding area of Northern Ireland inspired much of his work.

The magical Mourne Mountains bewitched C.S. Lewis with their majestic peaks and stunning views. He noted in his essay On Stories that a giant would not be out of place in this beautiful landscape.

Belfast is now home to C.S. Lewis Square, a community space in East Belfast that features seven bronze sculptures from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is one of many places to experience Narnia in Northern Ireland.

9. Clive Staples Lewis – his real name

One of the most interesting facts about C.S. Lewis is that his real name was Clive Staples.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

One of the most fascinating facts about C.S. Lewis you might not have known is that the ‘C.S.’ in his name stands for Clive Staples.

8. Little Lea – his childhood home

Little Lea was his childhood home.
Credit: commonswikimedia.org

In 2003, the childhood home outside of Belfast where C.S. Lewis grew up, ‘Little Lea’, went up for sale for use under £1 million.

He and his family moved to the Edwardian home set east of the city in 1905 when C.S. Lewis was six years old.

While you cannot visit his childhood home, there is a little sign outside the house that says ‘Little Lea’ and a description – “C.S. Lewis – author and critic – lived here 1905-1917”.

7. Friends and rivals with J.R.R. Tolkien – an interesting friendship within the facts about C.S. Lewis

One of the most interesting facts about C.S. Lewis is that he was friend with J.R.R. Tolkien.
Credit: Flickr / Levan Ramishvili; commonswikimedia.org

C.S. Lewis was once very good friends with J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. In fact, Tolkien once described Lewis as “his closest friend from about 1927 to 1940”.

Years after a friendship forged by shared interests in languages, poetry, myth and storytelling, it all ended due to petty rivalries and unspoken resentment.

6. Atheism to Christianity – an unlikely transition

He converted from atheism to Christianity.
Credit: Pixabay.com

Despite being an Atheist for many years in his youth, C.S. Lewis converted to Christianity later in life and became a firm defender of the religion. This is one of the most interesting facts about C.S. Lewis.

5. Pseudonyms – writing under false names

He wrote under several false names.
Credit: Flickr / Levan Ramishvili

C.S. Lewis penned several of his works under the pseudonyms Clive Hamilton and N.W. Clerk, including his first published work, Spirits in Bondage.

4. His first published work was not well received – no reviews for Spirits in Bondage

One of the most interesting facts about C.S. Lewis is that his first book was not well recieved.
Credit: Instagram / @jordanmposs

Penned under the name Clive Hamilton, Spirits in Bondage was C.S. Lewis’ first published work. The book is composed of three different sections of poetry.

Interestingly, he had not yet converted to Christianity when he wrote them, so the themes and world views differ greatly from his better-known works.

Spirits in Bondage received no reviews, and its reception was a slight disappointment for C.S. Lewis.

3. One thumb joint – an odd fact about C.S. Lewis

An odd fact was that he had only one thumb joint.
Credit: Flickr / Levan Ramishvili

A bizarre but fascinating fact about C.S. Lewis was that he and his brother only had one joint in their thumbs, meaning he was hopeless at any sports that involved catching, throwing, or hitting balls.

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Interesting, he also never learned to type. So, all of his work was penned by pen to paper.

2. He has two degrees from Oxford – one of the best facts about C.S. Lewis

One of the most interesting facts about C.S. Lewis is that he has two degrees from Oxford.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

C.S. Lewis originally planned to become a philosopher teaching at Oxford University. However, when he couldn’t get a job after graduating, he stayed at Oxford for another year and did a second degree in English.

In the end, he taught English literature rather than philosophy.

1. He gave away the royalties of his books – a generous soul

He gave away the royalties of his books.
Credit: Instagram / @ilovebooks40

Though he earned only a modest salary as a tutor at Magdalen College, C.S. Lewis set up a charitable trust to give away two-thirds of any money he received from his books.

This money was distributed amongst the poor, clergy widows, seminary students, churches, and other ministries.

So, there you have it. Ten fascinating facts about C.S. Lewis. How many did you know?

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