A Chronological Reading Guide
to the Works of C. S. Lewis

Lewis - Essay Collection cover

With a major C. S. Lewis conference getting underway in Houston this weekend, I thought that now would be a good time to publish my chronological bibliography of C. S. Lewis. It is now available as a Google Docs sheet.

I have prepared this bibliography in order to serve my own quest of reading all of Lewis’s writings in chronological order. If you are on this or another, similar quest, you may also find it useful.

My method is to read Lewis’s published letters in order. When I reach the date of an article or book I lay the letters aside, read the work, then return to the letters. This seems the best strategy to follow the progress of his life and thought.

The “Works” sheet lists all of his published works in chronological order along with a wealth of metadata. It’s thorough, but a bit unwieldy as a reading log. The “Printable Log” sheet offers a convenient way to have a bedside list of Lewis’s works with the essentials needed to track what you’ve read, what to read next, and in which book to find it.

In the printable log, the leftmost three columns are for individual use. Mark whether you own (or have access to) a work with an X in the Owned column. Note the dates when you begin and finish reading a work.

Works are ordered roughly by date of publication or, in the case of a lecture, the date he delivered it. Quite a few of his works were discovered and published posthumously, and in these cases the suspected date of writing is indicated. Some of the dates are highly uncertain and speculative (e.g. “Tasso”, which the editor guesses was “written sometime in the 40s.”). For many works the year but not the month or day are known. In that case I mark Jan 1 as the publication date. If the month but not the day is known, the first day of that month is indicated. If you know of a better way to indicate uncertainty and range within dates, or to distinguish publication dates from writing dates, without adding undue complexity to the spreadsheet, please let me know.

The “Original Publication” column is intended to list the original bibliographic data for the publication, but a combination of ignorance and laziness on my part have left it an inconsistent dumping ground for partial information. Excel (and the more portable CSV format) offer poor support for italicization, so book names are left un-italicized.

Most of Lewis’s articles and some of his books have been collected in at least one other book. The “Collected In” column records which.

  • ECOSP – Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces
  • SLE – Selected Literary Essays
  • SMRL – Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature
  • GITD – God in the Dock
  • WLNOE – The World’s Last Night and Other Essay
  • CR – Christian Reflections
  • TAFAP – They Asked for a Paper
  • PC – Present Concerns
  • I&I – Image and Imagination

You’ll notice that ECOSP is the most essential collection, with SMRL or SLE coming a distant second. I have not yet found the optimally small/cheap set of collections necessary and sufficient to own all of his essays, and the recent Image and Imagination further complicates this calculation. If you discover an optimum, please share your solution.

The “Title” column lists the title as listed in the most prominent collection (often ECOSP), but many writings have alternative titles under which they appeared originally or in other collections. These are listed under “Alternative Titles.”

“Notes” lists miscellaneous historical information, links to online copies of a work, or mere comments to myself as I gathered this information. If you have other information that might be interesting or useful, please send it my way.

Heartful thanks is due to R. Simmons, an otherwise anonymous Amazon reviewer whose reviews of Lewis’s works often include carefully-prepared lists of contents. These were of tremendous help to me in preparing this bibliography.

I hope you find this bibliography useful. Please, if you find any corrections, additions, or improvements, please let me know so that I may incorporate and redistribute them.

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