In 1962, The Christian Century posed C.S. Lewis the question, “What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?” The beloved writer and lay theologian responded with ten titles illuminating his passion for philosophy, literature, Christian thought, and the reading of old books.

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.

His answers, coupled with essays examining their significance on his life and work, comprise C. S. Lewis’s List: The Ten Books That Influenced Him Most. From Virgil’s epic Aeneid to Boethius’s groundbreaking Consolation of Philosophy, explore the titles selected below.


Phantastes by George MacDonald

The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

The Aeneid by Virgil (also rec’d by Jorge Luis Borges)

The Temple by George Herbert

The Prelude by William Wordsworth

The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

“To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.” -CSL

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell

Descent Into Hell by Charles Williams

Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour

(via Bloomsbury)

Categories: Writers

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