CS Lewis Reading List

In Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis, editor Thomas Martin and the other literature professors who
contributed to this essay collection detailed the works of classic English literature that helped form Lewis
as a Christian thinker. (See “Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis” in the Summer, 2005 issue of Heart and
Mind magazine.)
While trying to compile a reading list from the literature cited in these essays, I emailed Dr. Martin asking
for advice. He kindly sent me some reading recommendations for both primary and secondary level students.
I have also included a list of various other books mentioned in Reading the Classics with C.S. Lewis.
One suggestion straight from Lewis: familiarize kids with the classics through picture books and children’s
versions, making it easier for them to read the originals on their own when they are older. Also, many of these
titles would make excellent family read-alouds.
A word of caution: Do a bit of research before handing these books to your children. Some are written in
archaic language which requires extra help to comprehend. Some might have levels of violence or sensuality
or other adult themes that you feel your child is not yet ready for. And there is not a little anti-Catholicism in
several books on the list, including Puritan’s Progress, The Faerie Queene and Paradise Lost.
Dr. Thomas Martin’s reading recommendations:
Primary level:
Andersen, Hans Christian, The Snow Queen
Bunyan, John Pilgrim’s Progress
Grahame, Kenneth The Wind in the Willows
Juster, Norton The Phantom Tollbooth
L’Engle, Madeline A Wrinkle in Time (series)
Lewis, C.S. The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
MacDonald, George The Princess and the Goblin
The Princess and Curdie
The Light Princess
Phantastes
Lilith
The Golden Key
The Princess and the Goblin
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
Secondary level (essential):
Beowulf
Alighieri, Dante The Divine Comedy
Chaucer, Geoffrey Canterbury Tales (selections)
C.S. Lewis-Inspired Reading List
Lesley Rice
©2005 Heart and Mind www.heart-and-mind.com
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe
Dickinson, Emily Selected Poems
Donne, John Selected poems
Hawthorne, Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter
“Young Goodman Brown”
“Ethan Brand”
Henry David Thoreau Walden
Herbert, George The Temple (selected poems)
Homer The Iliad
The Odyssey
Marlowe, Christopher Doctor Faustus
Melville, Herman Moby Dick
Milton, John Paradise Lost
Shakespeare, William Julius Caesar
Hamlet
Romeo and Juliet
Shelley, Mary Frankenstein
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels
Tolstoy, Leo “Master and Man”
Virgil The Aenid
Secondary level (additional):
Alcott, Louisa May Little Women
Buck, Pearl The Good Earth
Cooper, James Fenimore Last of the Mohicans
Clark, Walter Van Tilburg The Ox-Bow Incident
Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird
London, Jack White Fang
Call of the Wild
Potok, Chaim My Name is Asher Lev
Twain, Mark Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Verne, Jules Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web
White, T.H. The Once and Future King
More books mentioned in Reading the Classics
with C.S. Lewis:
Austin, Jane Persuasion
Mansfield Park
Sense and Sensibility
Boswell, James The Life of Samuel Johnson
Carroll, Lewis Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
©2005 Heart and Mind www.heart-and-mind.com
Haggard, Rider King Solomon’s Mines
Kingsley, Charles The Water Babies
Kipling, Rudyard Kim
Rewards and Fairies
Milton, John Paradise Lost by Milton
Norton, Mary The Borrowers
Potter, Beatrix Squirrel Nutkin
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Spenser, Edmund The Faerie Queene
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels [For an interesting analysis of this satire from a
Christian perspective, see Anne Barbeau Gardiner’s article, “Swift
Prophet:The Christian Meaning of Gulliver’s Travels” in the
October, 2004 issue of Touchstone magazine. Call 800-783-4903
or visit www.touchstonemag.com.]
White, T.H. Mistress Masham’s Repose
Also mentioned as Lewis favorirtes: Charlotte Bronte and poets Wordsworth, Herbert,
Keats and Shelley.
More reading lists:
The University of New Mexico Department of English, master’s program reading list:
www.unm.edu/~english/Resources/pdf/50-item%20MA%20list%2003-04%20students.pdf
Also, see UNM’s Ph.D. reading lists in English Literature at www.unm.edu/~english/GraduateStudies/
Resources.htm
Rutgers-Newark Department of English reading list: http://english-newark.rutgers.edu/02_graduate_07_
mA_Exam_reading_list.htm
©2005 Heart and Mind www.heart-and-mind.com
Lesley Rice is editor of Heart and Mind: A
Resource for Catholic Homeschoolers. Read
her comprehensive review of Reading the
Classics With C.S. Lewis in the
Summer 2005 issue. To order a
back issue or to subscribe, visit
www.heart-and-mind.com.
Order Reading the Classics
With C.S. Lewis from Baker
Academic, P.O. Box 6287,
Grand Rapids, MI 49516,
(800) 877-2665 or visit www.
bakeracademic.com. Cost:
$19.92 plus $4.49 shipping
and handling.
Lewis’ Top 10 Books
Phantastes by George MacDonald
The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
The Aenid by Virgil
The Temple by George Herbert
The Prelude by William Wordsworth
The Idea of the Holy by Rudolfo Otto
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius
The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
Descent into Hell by Charles Williams
Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour

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