Jack was lying to his father, who thought he was still Christian.
Although poor, Mrs Moore was determinedly hospitable. She had a positive influence on Jack, teaching him generosity and giving the reclusive scholar a taste of normal family life. After four years of study Lewis ended up with three first-class degrees from Oxford: Greek and Latin literature, classical philosophy and English language and literature.
His father sponsored him to continue his studies because it was difficult for classics students to find a job. He took a lecturing position while applying for a fellowship, a financial grant for university teaching. He was turned down for several positions before being awarded a fellowship teaching English at Oxford's Magdalen College. He began work there in October In he submitted Dymer , a long mythological poem, for publication.
It is a tale with a moral about fantasy and self-deception: like Lewis's other books, it was written from experience. It was favourably reviewed and may have met with more success if the fashion at the time had not been for free, non-rhyming poetry. The members, who included Lewis himself, J. Many of them were Christian; some were atheists; some were followers of Anthroposophy, a philosophy that was quite popular at the time.
The purpose of the group was to hear and criticise members' writings-in-progress. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings stories were first aired at Inklings meetings, as were some of Lewis's stories. Lewis's conversion to Christianity was not a sudden experience. He always claimed it was logical and rational, not emotional. His influences were, as always, books and a few close friends. Inspired by his reading, Lewis's personal philosophy had been slowly approaching theism belief in a god under another name: he came to believe in a universal spirit without yet calling it God.
He knew that his position was confused. In Surprised by Joy he likens the following process to being hunted down by God, or even being defeated by him in a game of chess. Tolkien, with whom he often argued philosophy and religion.
A chance remark by another acquaintance, T. Weldon, caused Lewis to rethink what he still was calling "the Christian myth": Weldon, known for his cynicism, thought that the evidence for Jesus's life and resurrection was remarkably good. Lewis read the Gospels and was struck by the thought that they did not sound like fiction: the writers seemed too unimaginative to have made the whole thing up; the Gospels read more like reports than stories. Albert Lewis died in His death caused Jack to feel guilty about deceiving him.
Jack also believed he could feel Albert's presence after his death. At this time Warren and Jack were both thinking of becoming Christian, although the idea of churchgoing was still unappealing to Jack and he did not accept many aspects of the Christian theology. On September 19, , Lewis, Dyson and Tolkien took a night-time stroll and began a conversation about myth. They walked and talked until morning.
Tolkien convinced Jack that myths were God's way of preparing the ground for the Christian story. The stories of resurrection throughout history were precursors to Jesus's true resurrection: Christianity was the completion of all the mythology before it. Dyson's contribution was to impress upon Jack how Christianity worked for the believer, liberating them from their sins and helping them become better people. His remaining arguments were being demolished. Jack Lewis was about to be checkmated. The final stage in Jack's conversion to Christianity took place three days later and was typically unconventional.
He and Warren were travelling by motorcycle to Whipsnade zoo: "When we set out I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Lewis also realised that his old experiences of 'Joy' had been pointers, reminding him that he was made for another world: he now reinterpreted them as longings for heaven, for God. He felt 'Joy' again many times in his life, but no longer attached the same importance to the experiences. Jack and Warren inherited a little money after their father's death. Jack was teaching at the university and writing his books on the history of English literature.
In he wrote the first of his science fiction books, Out of the Silent Planet.
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Warren was still in the army. The Kilns received several evacuees, who were an early inspiration for the Chronicles of Narnia. Jack began to get a large volume of post from admirers. He had recruited Warren to type his handwritten manuscripts: now he relied on him to act as a secretary too.
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Jack also gave a series of talks about Christianity on BBC radio between and After the first set of talks was well received he also presented some lectures to soldiers, which he considered war work. His broadcasts resulted in many people converting to Christianity - and a lot more letters for Jack to answer. The text of his talks was published in a book called Mere Christianity. Lewis's literary output in these years was considerable.
He divided his time between academic writing, popular apologetics and fiction. By , when a debate with Elizabeth Anscombe convinced him he had been arguing the case for God in the wrong way, Mrs Moore was becoming ill. Jack spent much of his time looking after her.
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The seven Chronicles of Narnia were written and published between and Jack had been writing his autobiography Surprised by Joy at around the same time. Meanwhile, Mrs Moore's health continued to deteriorate; she went to a nursing home and died there in Warren was not overly distraught.
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Her death gave the brothers more freedom; Jack was relieved from some of his household duties, but he was also free to marry. In Joy Gresham came to England. Joy was a New York teacher of English literature, a former communist and a recent convert to Christianity: her parents had been Jewish, though her father was secular and her mother was not very religious.
Joy had a husband, though at the time their marriage was in trouble. They had two sons, Douglas and David. Joy had been corresponding with Lewis for two years before her visit. She was a sharp, outspoken and witty woman, just the sort to appeal to Lewis. When, on her return to America, she found her husband committing adultery and their marriage beyond repair, she moved to England with her sons. Lewis had taken a teaching job at Cambridge university, spending weekends and holidays at home. Joy and her sons moved into a house not far from the Kilns.
They were frequent visitors. In Joy's husband divorced her.
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In her work permit expired and she faced having to move back to America. Lewis decided to marry her. Lewis claimed the civil marriage ceremony, quietly performed in a registry office, was a purely legal measure to allow Joy to stay in the country. Nobody is quite sure of their feelings for each other at that stage, but shortly afterwards some news arrived that changed everything. Joy was diagnosed with advanced cancer and did not have long to live.