London: Geoffrey Bles, 1952. First edition. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket. Whisper of foxing to fore-edge, faint offsetting to endpapers of nearly-fine book, mild edge-wear and two closed tears to base of front and back panels, mild tanning and tape repair to verso of scarce dust jacket. Item #543
Rare first edition bringing together C.S. Lewis’s wartime radio addresses, a handsome copy of a landmark of popular Christian apologetics in a bright and clean, unfaded and unclipped dust jacket. The convulsive years of the Second World War saw Lewis at the peak of his influence: “People whose lives had been torn apart by war and suffering, who needed something to cling to, devoured his series of popular theological books, tuned into his broadcasts, flocked at every opportunity to hear him speak.” (John Wain). Mere Christianity was adapted from a series of BBC Broadcast Talks given by Lewis between 1942 and 1944. “His aim was to express, in five fifteen-minute talks, the lineaments of the classical Christian worldview, or, as he would later call it, after the seventeenth-century English Puritan theologian Richard Baxter, ‘mere Christianity’—mere that is, in the older sense of the word, meaning pure, unvarnished, and undistorted by sectarian bias.” (Zaleski, The Fellowship). Mere Christianity collects in a single volume the revised and expanded transcripts of the BBC radio talks that appeared separately in print as: Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944). Composed of four sections: Book I. Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe, Book II. What Christians Believe, Book III. Christian Behaviour, Book IV. Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity. Lewis's appealing conversational style, from one layman to another, is established in the introductory Preface, "deploying, to great effect, the telling analogy and didactic exemplum, often introduced as a ‘supposal’” (Zaleski). Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski. The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings.