C.S. Lewis & Persecution

Most of Lewis’ colleagues at Oxford University found his zealous defence of the Christian faith irritating, if not embarrassing [Lyle W. Dorsett, “C.S. Lewis: An Introduction” in his ed., The Essential C.S. Lewis (New York: Macmillan Publ. Co., 1988), 3]. Magdalen College, where Lewis taught, was during the 1930s-1950s “leftish, atheist, cynical.” According to Clyde Kilby, “One report went out that no one at Magdalen wanted to sit next to Lewis at the table because he would immediately turn and ask, “are you a Christian?” Both by nature and dictates of good taste, Lewis was utterly opposed to putting anyone in a corner. Yet this was the sort of gossip that, along with his output of books on Christianity, finally prevented Lewis’s being awarded a professorship…” “For some twenty-five years Lewis knew what it was to be sneered at, to be called “saint” cynically, but still he was friendly with all his colleagues.” [Clyde S. Kilby, “Holiness in the Life of C.S. Lewis”, Discipleship Journal, 22 (July 1, 1984), 15]. Especially after the publication of his Narnia books in the 1950s, a sizeable body of the Oxford faculty shunned him. Some criticized him to his face, while others did it behind his back.