Back to the classics

Brenton Dickieson of , one of the blogs I follow, ended last year with an impressive list of books he had read in 2012.

My year’s reading was nowhere near that extensive or that intellectual. The complete works of Arthur Ransome (children’s fiction). The complete works of Joel Rosenberg (adult fiction and non-fiction). Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant series (historical fiction). Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger. Non-fiction about spiritual warfare, Amelia Earhart, nuclear power gone amuck. Vermont humor by maple syrup-maker Burr Morse. Plus first-hand accounts of near-death experiences. On New Year’s Eve I re-read my brother Ted Reynolds’ science fiction short story “Can These Bones Live?” and novella, “Ker-Plop, ” both nominated for Hugo awards. Quite an assortment.

Inspired by “Pilgrim,” I have dug out my list of books, recommended at C.S. Lewis conferences, which I have been pecking away at for going on four years now, and will resume pecking at those which remain:

Classics I would and should have gotten as an undergraduate, if Cal State Dominguez Hills had not accepted me straight into their Master’s program in English Lit with my Bachelor’s degree(s) in something else (journalism/psychology and Bible): Dante (Inferno, Divine Comedy), Voltaire (Candide), Rousseau, Goethe, Chaucer (Troilus and Criseyde), Homer (Iliad and Odyssey), Spenser (Faery Queen and In Praise of Poesy), Milton (Paradise Lost), Pascal (Pensees), Aquinas (Summa Theologica), Augustine’s City of God, Calvin’s Institutes. Schiller, Novalis, Ruskin, Proust. (Fortunately we have The Great Books downstairs.)

That should arm me adequately to try another assault (i.e. attempt to understand) Lewis’ commentary on Poetry and Prose in the 16th century, which comprises volume 3 of the Oxford History of English Literature (known affectionately as O.H.E.L.).

Christian mystics: Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross.

Reading what we haven’t yet read by or about C.S. Lewis and other Inklings: The Discarded Image, Meditation in a Toolshed, Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis at the BBC; On C.S. Lewis and Freud: The Question of God; Michael Ward: Planet Narnia;  Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Warren Hamilton Lewis; Chesterton: Orthodoxy; Williams: The Figure of Beatrice, Arthurian Torso.

Adler’s Summary of Augustine, Aquinas, and Aristotle, Gogol (Dead Souls), Thomas Hearn (Centuries of Devotion), Samuel Alexander (Space, Time and Deity), MacDonald (Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood), Sittser (A Grace Disguised), Mackie (The Miracle of Theism), Terry Eagleton (Taking on the New Atheism), Boethius (Consolation of Philosophy), McGrath (Intellectuals Don’t Need God and other Myths), Richard Rohrer, Baron von Hugel, Philip Sidney, Anne Lamott (All New People).

Besides Buechner, of course.


About Jessica Renshaw
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3 Responses to Back to the classics

  1. Malissa says:

    Thanks for calling us to higher thought in our reading. I am tackling the Westminster catechism with commentary. Great foundational doctrine with scripture. And renewal as a way of life by Richard Lovelace. Are you familiar with him. Do you know about the inklings conference July 14-19 at st aldates in Oxford? Hal Poe at union u in TN is contact person


  2. Jessica says:

    Would you be Malissa-of-the-Kilns, which whom I am already in correspondence but have yet to meet? :o)

    Westminster catechism with commentary–that sounds like another enriching study! Lovelace is an author I should add to my list, one I keep hearing about but haven’t read.

    There are so many tantatlizing Lewis-related conferences this year and next! I don’t think we knew of the one at St. Aldates. I’ll post separately about all the CS Lewis Foundation’s events commemorating the 50th aniversary of his death (or Life).

  3. A great list. I talked on my blog somewhere how much I’m missing in the reading “canon”–the things I should have read. I suspect I’ll be filling that in forever.

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