Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis

Front Cover
Thomas Nelson Inc, Jan 17, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages

Surprised by Laughter looks at the career and writings of C. S. Lewis and discovers a man whose life and beliefs were sustained by joy and humor.

All of his life, C. S. Lewis possessed a spirit of individuality. An atheist from childhood, he became a Christian as an adult and eventually knew international acclaim as a respected theologian. He was known worldwide for his works of fiction, especially the Chronicles of Narnia; and for his books on life and faith, including Mere Christianity, A Grief Observed, and Surprised by Joy. But perhaps the most visible difference in his life was his abiding sense of humor. It was through this humor that he often reached his readers and listeners, allowing him to effectively touch so many lives.

Terry Lindvall takes an in-depth look at Lewis's joyful approach toward living, dividing his study of C. S. Lewis's wit into the four origins of laughter in Uncle Screwtape's eleventh letter to a junior devil in Lewis's The Screwtape Letters: joy, fun, the joke proper, and flippancy. Lindvall writes, "One bright and compelling feature we can see, sparking in his sunlight and dancing in his moonlight, is laughter. Yet it is not too large to see at once because it inhabited all Lewis was and did."

Surprised by Laughter reveals a Lewis who enjoyed the gift of laughter, and who willingly shared that gift with others in order to spread his faith.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Not At All What I Was Expecting

User Review  - Sean -

Surprised by Laughter an attempt to take a peek into the lighter side of one of my all time favorite authors, CS Lewis. The author examines the four types of humor that Lewis used in his writings and ... Read full review

Know what you're getting

User Review  - Logan -

This book is probably one with which you would NOT want to be surprised by. You might expect a joyful read about a great author who had a well developed sense of humour. However whether it surprises ... Read full review


The Idea and the Legacy
The Joke Proper
Satire and Flippancy
Conclusion The Laughter of Love
About the Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Terry Lindvall (PhD University of Southern California) occupies the C. S. Lewis Chair of Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan College. He is the author of six books, including Celluloid Sermons, Sanctuary Cinema, and The Mother of All Laughter: Sarah and the Genesis of Comedy. An ordained Congregational minister, he has taught at Duke University School of Divinity, College of William and Mary, Fuller Seminary, and other universities.

Bibliographic information