C. S. Lewis’s allegory enhanced with a wealth of annotations, including notes by Lewis himself.
Modeled after John Bunyan’s famous Pilgrim’s Progress, C. S. Lewis’s Pilgrim’s Regress represents a number of firsts for Lewis—the first book he wrote after his conversion to Christianity, his first book of fiction, and the first book he published under his own name.
This splendid annotated edition, produced in collaboration with the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton, Illinois, helps readers recover the richness of Lewis’s allegory. Often considered obscure and difficult to read, The Pilgrim’s Regress nonetheless remains a witty satire on cultural fads, a vivid account of spiritual dangers, and an illuminating tale for generations of pilgrims old and new.
Editor David C. Downing’s critical introduction provides needed biographical and cultural context for fully appreciating The Pilgrim’s Regress. Downing relies throughout both on his own expertise and on previously unpublished sources from Lewis himself to identify allusions to other authors, translate quotations, and explain humor hidden within Lewis’s text. Among the hundreds of annotations are references that draw parallels to Lewis’s later works, including Mere Christianity, Surprised by Joy, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
Among all of C. S. Lewis’s books, the one most in need of annotation is The Pilgrim’s Regress, which fairly bristles with allusions to writers and ideas, some ancient, some recent, some famous, some obscure. It takes a learned and discerning scholar to tease out all these references. Fortunately, David Downing is just such a scholar, and this book is an outstanding contribution to Lewis studies.
Downing’s consistently thorough and well-informed annotations do a superb job of clarifying and enlivening this difficult, but very important, early work by C. S. Lewis. All readers of Lewis will be grateful.
The Pilgrim’s Regress, the first book Lewis wrote after becoming a Christian, remains one of the best records of how he went from cynical atheist to joyous believer. It is no exaggeration to say that David Downing’s superb annotations allow those of us who do not share Lewis’s vast philosophical, literary, and linguistic background to understand and enjoy this classic work in a way not possible before. A must for all serious Lewis fans.
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classic Mere Christianity. Read more about his life and legacy.