I’m on a mission to acquire a copy of everything C. S. Lewis ever published. The standalone books aren’t too difficult but the essays are a different story. They have been published and republished many times in diverse and overlapping collections. Some collections are out of print. Some are available in the UK but not the US. The essays sometimes change titles as they move from editor to editor. The task of deciphering the minimum number (or minimum total cost) of books necessary to own all of Lewis’s essays very nearly requires the help of an artificial intelligence.
Thus, with the help of some Ruby scripting, HTML, and CSS, I present the fruit of my (and my computer’s) efforts: a complete list of all of C. S. Lewis’s essays tagged with the collections in which they appear. Copious thanks to Bowen Simmons for his Amazon (US) reviews listing the table of contents for many of the books and suggesting shortcuts to owning all the essays.
As you can see from the following table, and as Simmons suggests, Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces is the first book to own. If you can’t find it in the US, try amazon.co.uk. This contains a large proportion of the pieces and nearly all of those not specifically dedicated to academic literary criticism. For many readers interested primarily in Lewis’s Christian writings—as opposed to those dedicated to literary criticism—this volume may be all you need. If you’re after his academic literary essays, Selected Literary Essays and Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature fill in the bulk of this work.
The collections mentioned in this table are:
- Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, HarperCollins, 2000
- Selected Literary Essays, Cambridge, 1979
- God in the Dock, Eerdmans, 1972
- Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Cambridge, 1998
- Rehabilitations and other Essays, [publisher?], 1939
- Christian Reflections, Eerdmans, 1994
- Of Other Worlds, Harcourt Brace, 1966
- They Asked for a Paper, Geoffrey Bles, 1962
- The World’s Last Night, Harcourt Brace, 1960
- Transposition and Other Addresses, Geoffrey Bles, 1949
Please let me know of any errors you may find.