Lionel Adey shows how the two sides of Lewis's personality, for which Adey adopts the motifs of "the Dreamer" and "the Mentor," are key to understanding Lewis's writing in its various modes. Adey describes Lewis's early development and then devotes a chapter to each kind of writing he attempted: literary history, practical and theoretical criticism, novels for adults and for children, poetry, apologetics, essays and addresses, and letters. Throughout, Adey discusses formative biographical events in Lewis's life, such as the death of his mother when he was nine years old. Adey concludes with an estimate of Lewis's achievement and enduring legacy as a writer.
G. B. Tennyson
— University of California, Los Angeles
"This is not just another book on Lewis. Neither hagiography nor demolition, this is a balanced, independent, insightful study of an author who has delighted and instructed hosts of readers of the most varied backgrounds and interests. Adey's emphasis is on the writings themselves, which he examines closely in terms of literary type and intended audience. He also undertakes to account for the extraordinary range and variety of Lewis's writing by a thoughtful examination of the many influences — personal, literary, and intellectual — that helped shape this most varied and versatile of writers. An impressive achievement."
Michael H. MacDonald
— Seattle Pacific University
"Not afraid to criticize (when appropriate) C. S. Lewis or his critics, Adey's well-written new work is the fruit of many years of study. He has found what many miss — that through books Lewis `tapped the memory of Western civilization.' Particularly strong are the chapters dealing with Lewis the poet, categorizing the numerous Lewis letters, bringing up to date the ever-increasing number of perspectives on Lewis the writer, and elucidating Lewis as mentor and dreamer. The book is well documented and contains excellent footnotes."
"Adey shows that understanding the two sides of Lewis's personality — reason and imagination — is the key to understanding his writings. . . . A careful analysis. . . . Engaging and accessible."