Alternative Lists

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 86, Autumn 2000 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

by Perry Bramlett

In 1962 The Christian Century asked C. S. Lewis “What books did most to shape your vocational attitude and your philosophy of life?” His answer was this famous list:

  1. Phantastes by George MacDonald
  2. The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton
  3. The Aeneid by Virgil
  4. The Temple by George Herbert
  5. The Prelude by William Wordsworth
  6. The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto
  7. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
  8. The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
  9. Descent Into Hell by Charles Williams
  10. 1Theism and Humanism by A. J. Balfour

Below is a second “top ten” list, books which greatly influenced Lewis and informed his thinking. Perhaps some of these should have been in the top ten:

  1. The Divine Comedy by Dante
  2. Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
  3. Space, Time, and Deity by Samuel Alexander
  4. The Fairie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  5. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  6. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  7. The Golden Bough by James Frazer
  8. I and Thou by Martin Buber
  9. Symbolism and Belief by Edwyn Bevan
  10. The Man Born to be King by Dorothy L. Sayers

For more lists by Perry Bramlett, turn to pages 14-15.