America Discovers C. S. Lewis

His Profound Impact

by K. Alan Snyder

Front CoverEven with the many books written about favorite Christian author C. S. Lewis, some aspects of his life and writings have received scant attention. Among those is the enduring influence of Lewis on the American public generally and the evangelical subculture specifically. There is no way to quantify that influence, but we can amass as much evidence as possible in the way of letters written by Lewis to Americans, reviews of his works, both apologetic and fiction, by his American audience, and testimonies from Americans whose lives have been touched by his words.

The first scholarly book written about Lewis came from the pen of an American literature professor. Lewis then married an American woman who counted him as the primary reason for her conversion to the Christian faith. A fairly significant number of Lewis societies dot the American landscape, holding conferences constantly. The C. S. Lewis Foundation in California now owns Lewis’s Oxford home and uses it as a study center for scholars. The Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois houses the Lewis papers.

This study documents the impact of Lewis on Americans from the 1940s until the present day. It also seeks to understand just why Lewis “caught on” in America to such a degree and why he remains so popular.

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Endorsements and Reviews:

“Lewis was not an authority on theology, nor a clergyman, and the British were prejudiced against his writings on theology. But Americans knew nothing of this, and liked his books because they explained profound theological truths in language almost everyone could understand. I can honestly say I understand Lewis so much better having read this book.”

Walter Hooper, Literary Adviser to the Estate of C.S. Lewis; Editor of The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis (2000-2006)

“Snyder has made this a very good season for deeper understanding of the impact of C. S. Lewis. America Discovers C. S. Lewis joins George Marsden’s recently published ‘biography’ of the Mere Christianity writer to explore and explain why Lewis has meant so much to so many American readers. Snyder’s use of Lewis’ correspondence with Americans is a special highlight in this helpful study.”

Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

“This is an illuminating, thoughtful account of the many strands that connected Lewis to America during his lifetime and continue to do so today. Snyder’s writing is crisp, his research extensive, and his focus strong and clear.”

Diana Pavlac Glyer, Professor of English; Author of The Company They Keep and Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

“Snyder provides his readers with a carefully crafted and historically engaging roadmap to the various ways in which the life and writings of C. S. Lewis influenced American Christianity. Snyder’s account of this dynamic, yet unlikely story of influence, is, itself, reflective of Lewis’s remarkable impact on American Christianity and serves as a significant contribution to the continuing assessment of and appreciation for the contribution of Lewis.”

Scott B. Key, Professor of Philosophy, California Baptist University; Director of the Academic Roundtable, C. S. Lewis Foundation

America Discovers C. S. Lewis
by K. Alan Snyder, PhD
Copyright © 2016

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4982-9820-9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4982-4771-9
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4982-9821-6

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