London: Geoffrey Bless, 1955. Octavo, original pale gray cloth, yellow top edge, original dust jacket. A nearly-fine book, small closed tear at top of front panel, trace of wear to spine ends and corners. An excellent copy. Item #823
"I GAVE IN, AND ADMITTED THAT GOD WAS GOD, AND KNELT AND PRAYED" Second impression—published in November 1955, only two months after the first—of C.S. Lewis’s account of his conversion, a presentation "under the guise of autobiography, of a winning articulation for theism" (Zaleski). The title of Lewis's recounting of his winding journey, from atheism to theism to Christianity, is taken from Wordsworth's "Surprised by Joy—Impatient as the Wind." Lewis increasingly felt himself in the grip of "that sickening, intense longing for 'something other,' which he called Joy. Pursuing this elusive quarry, Lewis soon lost his way" (Zaleski) in desperate attempts to recapture the revelatory thrill of experience. "This proved a dreadful mistake, to which Lewis believes Wordsworth succumbed also, with his lifelong nostalgia for the lost glory of heaven: the mistake of looking for the transcendent in an experience and particularly in the duplication of previous experience" (Zaleski). The book is 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" (Zaleski). A bright, fresh early printing in the dust jacket designed by John R. Biggs. Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings.