Fifty years ago this fall, the world-renowned author C. S. Lewis died in his home near Oxford, England, one week before he would have turned 65.
But despite the immense popularity of his Narnia books and his wide and deep influence as a public intellectual and Christian apologist, his death went virtually unnoticed at the time — for the simple reason that it took place on November 22, 1963. In the days and weeks following, print and broadcast journalists alike had little attention to spare for anything but recollections of the fallen president and speculation about the ramifications of his assassination.
With time came perspective, and while I’m sure JFK will once again this year get more column inches and broadcast time than CSL as November 22 approaches, Lewis will not be forgotten. He remains one of the most widely read and best-loved authors in the Anglosphere; at least one book about him appears nearly every year; and societies studying his work have sprung up all across the United States and (among other places) in England, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Japan. On the anniversary itself, I see from the Web, there will be a memorial service in the Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey. And here in New York City, on Saturday, November 23, the Fulton J. Sheen Center for Thought and Culture and the New York C. S. Lewis Society are jointly sponsoring a conference reflecting on his life and work.
“C. S. Lewis: In Memoriam” will feature noted speakers from here and abroad, a forum addressing the question “Why C. S. Lewis?” and many opportunities for informal discussion. There will also be a screening of the documentary Beyond Narnia. Dinner is included in the registration fee. The conference will take place at the Cathedral High School at 56th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, from 1 to 8 p.m.
For more information, please contact Rosemarie Bruno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-794-3479. To register, send a check ($35 per person) payable to The Archdiocese of New York (memo: Lewis event) to:
Rosemarie H. Bruno
1011 First Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10022-4112.