Friday, November 22, 2013
C. S. Lewis - his legacy will last
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of C. S. Lewis.
It's also the anniversary of the death of John Kennedy, whose tragic death overshadowed that of Lewis.
Both men had an impact on the world, but I think that in the long run, Lewis's legacy will be greater.
Kennedy's legacy is based on his incomplete term as President. The record was mixed - but his assassination and the emotional impact of his death overwhelmed objectivity in assessing that record. He's a martyr, a romantic tragic figure. I suspect that when the dust of history settles he will be judged somewhere in the second tier of presidents (in the 14/15 range). One has to wonder what he would have achieved had he finished out his term - and, as I suspect he would have - served out a second term.
But Lewis has only grown in stature since his death. His Mere Christianity is ranked as one of the spiritual classics of the 20th Century. His Chronicles of Narnia books and The Screwtape Letters also rank high. They - and a number of his other books - continue to sell briskly and to influence people. Many people have discovered or rediscovered faith through his works, and, through the case of Narnia, the movies made from them.
I suspect years from now people will still be reading and cherishing his writings.
Long after Kennedy's achievements are relegated to the history books.
Pax et bonum