The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis

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9781587314551: The Latin Letters of C.S. Lewis
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In September 1947, after reading C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters in Italian, Fr. Giovanni Calabria was moved to write the author, but he knew no English and assumed (rightly) that Lewis knew no Italian. So he wrote his letter in Latin, hoping that, as a classicist, Lewis would know Latin. Therein began a correspondence that was to outlive Fr. Calabria himself (he died in December 1954, and was succeeded in correspondence by Fr. Luigi Pedrollo).

Translator/editor Martin Moynihan calls these letters "limpid, fluent and deeply refreshing. There was a charm about them, too, and not least in the way they were 'topped and tailed' – that is, in their ever-slightly-varied formalities of address and of farewell."

More than any other of his published works The Latin Letters shows the strong devotional side of Lewis, and contains letters ranging from Christian unity and modern European history to liturgical worship and general ethical behavior.

Moreover, these letters are often intimate and personal:

I know that you will pour out your prayers both for my most dearly longed-for wife and also for me who – now bereaved and as it were halved – journey on, through this Vale of Tears, alone.
LETTER 34

"If someone had told me that there existed a long correspondence between C.S. Lewis and a saint . . . and that it was about ecumenism and reunion between Protestants and Catholics. I would think they were pulling my leg. It sounds too good to be true. Yet here it is: a graceful, intimate, hopeful, wise, saintly, committed, uncompromising, mutually respectful, and utterly practical ongoing dialog between a Catholic saint and the greatest Protestant writer of all time. . . . It contains many new gems of Lewis wisdom for the reader to underline, quote, and share. This is a very precious little book, and a strikingly relevant one for both Protestants and Catholics, for it is a model of ecumenical dialog. If your hopes for reunion are flagging, please read this book." – Peter Kreeft

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About the Author:

C.S. Lewis, the most renowned Protestant writer in the 20th century, was the author of dozens of works in fiction, theology, philosophy, literary criticism, and belles lettres.

Fr. Giovanni Calabria was canonized a saint in the Catholic Church in 1999; he started a series of homes throughout Italy for abandoned adolescents, and was the founder of the Congregation of the Poor Servants of Divine Providence.

Review:

At one point in the correspondence between Lewis (1898-1963) and Calabria (1873-1954), Calabria writes that Lewis has the gift and mind and heart. These same traits also belonged to Calabria and most certainly to their letters as well. Written in Latin, their correspondence is mostly about religious unity regardless of denomination but also the developing kinship between two individuals of different backgrounds and personal experiences. Calabria was an Italian priest from Verona, an author of religious publications, and a founder of a series of orphanages who was beatified in 1988. At the time, Lewis had achieved fame as a novelist, essayist, and literary critic. Their letters, though focused on dissension between religious groups resulting from confusing differences in morality with differences in beliefs about the facts, also include references to daily effort, seasonal weather, health and well-being, and the death of a loved oneand how all of it is supported by faith and prayer. VERDICT The faithful, those who have strayed from their faith, and those who merely like to read will find these letters between two men (they never met) inspirational, redemptive, and challenging. -- Robert Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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