The Backstory of C.S. Lewis’s Singular Book on Suffering Written after the Death of His Wife
I bought a copy of A Grief Observed a few months after my husband died. I had no idea of this backstory, I simply wanted to read a man's perspective of grief.
Thank you for sharing this.
You always manage to relate the most fascinating background stories! Your articles are impossible to skim through as the details beg for a slow read. Thanks for today's post - I'll be viewing our copy of the book in a new light.
Great read. Never heard of A Grief Observed but will be picking up a copy. Thank you 🙏
I read A Grief Observed in May, a few weeks after my husband of 43 years died of lung cancer. I have since read it again, and will continue to share and recommend it to my friends. It is the most compelling and comforting book on grief I have read. Thank you for sharing this story.
Thanks again for your stellar work, Joel!
The topic of suffering and what it means to trust God has occupied me for many decades.
After my first book was published, I thought the second, perhaps third book, would be my book, God, What on Earth are You Doing?: An Honest Conversation. Well, it turns out it took thirty years to write (~age 35-65). Lord willing, it shall be finished this fall.
Great piece Joel. I too have not read A Grief Observed, but definitely will. I have read other C.S. Lewis books and enjoyed them all. Did you ever see the movie Shadowlands from years ago? It details the story of Joy (played by Debra Winger) and C.S. Lewis (played by Anthony Hopkins). It always left an impression on me. Connection between Lewis & Clerk (Clark)? Did he pen any other works under any other pseudonames that you know of?
Thank you for this follow up.
So interesting to learn this was originally published under a pseudonym. Makes sense - it’s been a while since I read it, but I remember that raw vulnerability from the very first line.
This book is one I share with anyone who has suffered the loss of a spouse. It never fails to comfort,. C. S. Lewis is one of God's greatest gifts not only for those who read him, but for those who guide us through the paths of righteousness.
When I first read this book, it seemed one of the most "connected" books between the theoretical and the practical. The subject of grief demands application, and Lewis make that connection. But what I didn't expect were the theological red flags my mind threw on the pages when I read certain points. Initially, it bothered me that one as studied in Scripture as Lewis was would make such wrong statements. Then I realized that the Psalms often do this very thing. In some psalms (like Psalm 13), the author isn't necessary believing all he is writing—but he is FEELING it. I like that God inspired some "un-theological" feelings to appear in Holy Scripture, and in Lewis' book, his musings seem to take much the same tack at times.
The grand takeaway for me wasn't so much the practical application of theology in grief (though we must do that), but rather the expression of feelings to God and to others. The feelings represent true feelings, whether or not the feelings represent truth.
Excellent post Joel. I love both cs Lewis and ts Elliot so much and I didn’t know anything about their history. Thanks for the good work!
I’ve been familiar with the work for years, but did not know this multi-layered history. Thank you for an incisive and inviting review of a classic work!
What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing with us!