New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1956. First American edition. Octavo. Original green cloth, yellow top edge, original dust jacket. Book nearly-fine with only a smattering of foxing to the front pastedown. Dust jacket with just a trace of creasing to the spine ends. A bright, fresh copy. Item #32
First American edition of Lewis’s conversion autobiography, published one year after the first British edition. The American edition features the iconic dust jacket by Philip Grushkin, with Walter Stoneman’s timeless photographic portrait of Lewis on the back panel. The title of Lewis's recounting of his journey from atheism to theism to Christianity is taken from Wordsworth's "Surprised by Joy—Impatient as the Wind." Dedicated to Dom Bede Griffiths, O. S. B. "Surprised by Joy is dedicated to Griffiths and we learn in its pages that during the months prior to Lewis's conversion, "my chief companion...was Griffiths, with who I kept up a copious correspondence." Their friendship ran aground, however, when Griffiths became a Catholic and a monk. The two ceased to see eye to eye and tempers flared over Thomism, ecclesiology, poetry, mysticism, prayer, life after death, and more." (Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship). An exemplary copy of a Christian classic.