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The Fame of C. S. LewisA Controversialist's Reception in Britain and America$
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Stephanie L. Derrick

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819448

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819448.001.0001

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Lewis’s Popular Reception in Mid-Century Britain and America

Lewis’s Popular Reception in Mid-Century Britain and America

(p.79) 3 Lewis’s Popular Reception in Mid-Century Britain and America
The Fame of C. S. Lewis

Stephanie L. Derrick

Oxford University Press

From the time of his BBC broadcasts and The Screwtape Letters the name of C. S. Lewis was trusted by many. In both Britain and America the public knew him as an Oxford don, Christian apologist, and fiction writer. He was a sensation during the war and his Christian writings continued to find a market during his lifetime. Mid-century British and American Christians praised much of the same things in Mere Christianity and used it in similar ways. In both countries, Lewis benefited from a thriving periodical and print culture. Thousands of Americans responded enthusiastically to Lewis. However, shallow knowledge of British intellectual and cultural life meant that his works were less critically engaged; his person and books were made to fit American expectations. He was understood to be the contrarian persona he presented, and his embattled self-presentation was taken up with gusto by American critics.

Keywords:   American Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, Geoffrey Bles Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Mere Christianity reception

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