The Creator of Narnia:
C. S. Lewis, or Jack Lewis, as he preferred to be called, was born in Belfast, Ireland (now Northern Ireland) on November 29, 1898. He was the second son of Albert Lewis, a lawyer, and Flora Hamilton Lewis. His older brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis, who was known as Warnie, had been born three years earlier in 1895.
Lewis's early childhood was relatively happy and carefree. In those days Northern Ireland was not yet plagued by bitter civil strife, and the Lewises were comfortably off. The family home, called Little Lea, was a large, gabled house with dark, narrow passages and an overgrown garden, which Warnie and Jack played in and explored together. There was also a library that was crammed with books--two of Jack's favourites were Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
This somewhat idyllic boyhood came to an end for Lewis when his mother became ill and died of cancer in 1908.
Barely a month after her death the two boys were sent away from home to go to boarding school in England.
Lewis hated the school, with its strict rules and hard, unsympathetic headmaster, and he missed Belfast terribly. Fortunately for him, the school closed in 1910, and he was able to return to Ireland.
After a year, however, he was sent back to England to study. This time, the experience proved to be mostly positive. As a teenager, Lewis learned to love poetry, especially the works of Virgil and Homer. He also developed an interest in modern languages, mastering French, German, and Italian.
In 1916 Lewis was accepted at University College, the oldest college (founded 1249) at Oxford University. Oxford, along with Cambridge University, had been a leading centre of learning since the Middle...