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Top Five: Lewis Non-Fiction

August 27th, 2010 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

The authoritative, definitive list of Lewis’s top five nonfiction books.  Don’t even try to argue with it.  You won’t win.

1)  Mere Christianity.  Is there really another serious contender for this slot?  Probably not at a blog that takes half its name from this classic.  While admittedly it is not Lewis’s most academic or maybe even most profound book, MC has had so an influence that few books rival.  That alone merits

2)  The Abolition of Man.  This is Lewis’s  most important non-fiction book, and just as relevant today as it was when he wrote it.  Lewis is at his best in diagnosing the problems of our late-modern era, even if his prognostication about the future ended up being wrong (he could have been helped by a dash of Tocqueville, I think).

3)  The Allegory of Love.  Lewis’s best scholarship is also an illuminating treatment of the courtly love tradition, compared to which the Renaissance is but a “mere ripple on the surface of literature.”

4)  The Four Loves.  Perhaps Lewis’ most profound book, The Four Loves is the best example of Lewis’s remarkable insight into the structures of the human psyche and human communities.

5)  A Grief Observed.  This barely nudges out The Problem of Pain, which really does deserve to be on the list.  Lewis is at his most transparent in this profound meditation, though, a quality which is particularly suited to the difficulty of the topic.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.