Book Review: Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis
Most of us know that C. S. Lewis was a great Christian apologist and author of The Chronicles of Narnia. What most of us don’t know is that, as Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at both Oxford and Cambridge, Lewis was first and foremost a great literature scholar. Proficient in Latin, Greek, and Old English, he was one of the most influential literary scholars of the 20th century.
In this small book on Milton, Lewis set the standard for modern Miltonian scholarship. Even though it is a scholarly book, it is still accessible for the educated layman and exhibits that clarity of thought and style for which Lewis is so famous. Its benefit for classical Christian educators is that in defending Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lewis first gives us a mini-course in the nature, style, and purpose of primary epic (Homer, Beowulf) and secondary epic (Virgil, Milton). The Christian scholar sees deeper into the true meaning of literature, and no one sees deeper than C. S. Lewis. For teachers and parents studying the epic tradition of Western civilization, this little volume is priceless.
Originally published in The Classical Teacher Winter 2014 edition