The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce

by C. S. Lewis

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Overview

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061947353
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 29,443
File size: 557 KB

About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) 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 classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1898

Date of Death:

November 22, 1963

Place of Birth:

Belfast, Nothern Ireland

Place of Death:

Headington, England

Education:

Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

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Great Divorce 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 175 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
CS Lewis is an extremely talented individual and I think The Great Divorce is a perfect example of his gift and his craft. He has taken the subject of Heaven and Hell, a subject that it usually 'black and white,' and had added several different shades of gray. It's as though he wants the subject matter to be attainable to his readers. He has created characters that are real and believeable - not only because of his descriptive nature but because you may know any one of those characters. This book really makes you think and it leaves you with a new perspective. I strongly recommend this book. It's a great, quick read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever observant and insightful, Lewis has taken mankind's major shortcomings and embodied them in a group of ghosts from Hell. Each of the doomed spirits is given the opportunity to shake off the chains of purgatory and respond to the invitation given by the heavenly host to 'come and feed'; in turn, each ghost finds one excuse or another why they cannot possibly do so. Through the eyes of the narrator, we witness those who hold themselves back because of fear, pride, selfishness, cynicism, ignorance, and blindness. Ultimately, Lewis' story hails individual choice as the chief determinant of where we will belong in the eternities: 'no soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.' Whether a warning to or a reflection on society, the book stimulates thought and forces the reader to look inward at their own weaknesses. Far from being pessimistic, however, the book leaves us with the notion that change, while perhaps difficult and even painful, is indeed possible. Lewis gives us a small glimpse of how the celestials might view and value important qualities such as joy, freedom, forgiveness, charity, and love. In the end, we are reminded that to live in a celestial environment, one must forego the telestial perspective.
Frank Yanan More than 1 year ago
I first read this book my freshman year of high school. I was disappointed. Then, the opportunity to read it again arose when I was a senior and I fell in love with it. It's a simple book that deals with the not-so-simple topics of heaven and hell. This book, written by an amazing critic and author, is one to read and understand and think about for years to come. Please take my advice and read this book! You won't regret it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
William Blake wrote of the marriage of heaven and hell, in this splendid fantasy novel Lewis becomes judicator of the divorce. The narrator joins a bus queue in a perpetual sunset town and takes a trip to heaven where any can stay and go to the mountains if they let go of their selfishness. Lewis hits the mark at describing our fallen psychology. As Dante had Virgil as guide so our narrator has Scottish author George MacDonald along on the tour. MacDonald trying to explain the choice of the lost says: 'Milton was right,'... 'The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words, 'Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.' ..... There is always something they prefer to joy --- that is, to reality.' The people from hell are shades as they all quickly discover on leaving the bus. The grass, trees, and even the water are solid and the shades from hell leave no impression. Conversely the new environment does effect them, one example being that rain drops would blast holes in them like a machine gun. The heavenly region they visit is much larger than hell although they don't realize it. 'All Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World.' The reason hell is so small is that it is so full of mostly nothing. The insistence on self will leads eventually to the person becoming more and more unreal. The narrator, who is really Lewis of course, asks MacDonald about his being a Universalist, that he talked in his books as if all men would be saved. Paraphrased MacDonald says something like: Doctrines such as universalism or even predestination may be true in eternity from God's perspective and paradoxically not true in time where freedom operates and the choice of ways is before you. In eternity it may be as our Lord told Lady Julian of Norwich 'that all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.'
Stephen_Kerr More than 1 year ago
This is a brilliant book. It touches upon the courage needed to let go of the things that hold us/pin us to the earth. It is a metaphor about how our journey here continues eternally. I could not put it down once I started reading it--perhaps the best of Lewis is right here in this book. If you want to be inspired, nudged towards the courage to let go and move ahead--this is for you! Stephen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is actually my first CS Lewis book. I enjoyed it very much and it did make me think of my motivations in this life. The struggle between my kingdom and God's kingdom is a moment by moment battle. Can't wait to read more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Over and over again I'd heard this title. . . the Great Divorce. It is brief for the short of attention span but something that should really be read over and over again until we tear away at the coverings of story and plot and find the message and the intention. I'm a teenager but that does not prevent me from ever turning away. You don't need to be Christian, only believe in change, in choices, in some sort of divine something. IT's so well written in orderto express his message, and certainly leaves any reader wtih a responsibility no other can bear. You can feel the horror of WWII at least in part driving the words. REad it, read it again and grow with it. IT's amazing what one can learn on a bus trip through heaven. The vision we see through the windows is far more potent than fire and brimstone, and far more pressing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book masterfully examines a lot of the excuses that we give when struggling with the absolute concepts in Christianity. It was funny in places and not so funny in others. Highly relatable in most instances and worth not just one read but a second one to mine for the nuances I might have missed the first time because I was digesting one concept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The question of how a loving God can condem people to hell has been the cause of much argument. Some arguments are easier to swallow than others. Others are just plain offensive. I personally get tired of the old God knows best line. I also get tired of the boring and complicated theological explanations many pastors are likly to give. C.S. Lewis places an excelante visual spin on this question. I think his explanation is swallowable though still slightly offensive. I really enjoyed this book's story and the answer to this hard question. This is more of a good story than some sermon. I definately recomend this book.
bennash More than 1 year ago
I am blown away! What a profound story with so much depth and meaning! It is so sad, eye opening, and yet so good it made me smile at the end. :) (A story about heaven and hell), this book has given me a different perspective on eternity, immortality, lost souls, and seeking God and enjoying Him. I thought I wouldn't highlight much of the book being a narrative, but there were so many deep truths you can pull from this book. This book reminds me of one of C.S. Lewis' quotes: "...we are far too easily pleased." Read this book. It's beautiful.
Zor-El More than 1 year ago
C. S. Lewis is a master. I have yet to read one of his works and not find myself thinking about for the next several weeks.
Joy Coaxum More than 1 year ago
This was an absulutely marvelous book. the characters and imagry keep you on the edge of your seat. i hardly put it down until i was done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a contemplative piece of work. Gave me much to ponder and pray about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A+must+read.+An+interesting+perspective+on+sin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This+book+is+a+great+read.++While+most+religious+books+are+a+bit+technical+and+dry%2C+this+book+reads+easily+and+you+want+to+get+to+the+next+page.+It+has%2C+of+course%2C+some+terrific+insights+and+thoughts+about+the+soul+and+the+after+life.+
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this fantasy tale, Lewis explores the nature of heaven and hell and the ramifications of salvation and redemption. In the introduction, he points out that this is an imaginative exploration of these locations, not to be taken as gospel or even as his own beliefs, but a simple fantasy that explores what could be.Hell is a drab place, where fights break out and people are drawn into deeper and deeper solitude. It is always gray, that fading light that just precedes night time, and the weather is damp and drizzly. The narrator, presumably Lewis himself, isn't at first aware of the true nature of his surroundings, and neither are we. Through vivid descriptions and cryptic dialogue we piece together an idea that this is hell that he is traversing (which is later confirmed by an angel). By chance he sees a queue, and for want of anything better to do he joins it, later discovering that it is a bus line, and he hops on board. The bus, however, is no ordinary means of public transport: it flies.The dull gray drops away, light percolates through shut window blinds, and the bus approaches cliffs that loom over the riders. The top of the top of these sheer rock walls reveals a lush green valley, and beautiful mountains in the distance. The light is the soft brilliance of early dawn, just before day breaks. Of course, this is heaven.While the physical settings of heaven and hell are, in themselves, fascinating, Lewis's inventive mind has more to offer. The denizens of hell become mere ghosts in the bright land, so insubstantial that even the smallest stalk of grass pierces them, water is solid, and an apple weighs a ton. The angels that descend upon the bus riders have come with a purpose, one angel to one ghost, in a last attempt to break through their worldly walls and win them to repentance and salvation. The exchanges between the angels and the ghosts, still stubbornly clinging to their flawed ideas that placed them in hell in the first place, become philosophical debates where Lewis has a chance to refute some common criticisms of Christianity.I've always liked Lewis, because he has a touch for explaining theological conundrums in simple terms, and because he has a rich imagination. This book combines both. Clearly, the fantasy is just a vehicle to delve into those philosophic exchanges, but since his intention is clear from the introduction I didn't feel like he was playing a trick. On the contrary, I thought it was a clever way to make subject matter that could otherwise be dry become very entertaining.
DuffDaddy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fable about what it means to get to heaven. Done very well with the imagery of a "solid" heaven. Lewis did a good job of describing Hell not as a demon-filled inferno; rather as a dreary town where no one gets along and no one is happy. Kind of reminded me of the novel "Hell". Especially meaningful were the scenes where the phantoms would not shed their earthly vanities for the chance of heaven. I also liked Lewis' interaction with George MacDonald - his self-proclaimed inspiration. Jack never disappoints.
vernazzablue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best introductions into Lewis' work. A much more engaging and fun read than the more serious "Mere Christianity." Lewis is a master of dialogue and crafting complex characters who are memorable beyond their brief appearances.
SherryKaraoke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites for many years, this is the greatest allegory of Heaven and Hell ever written.
ctpress on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Few can stir the imagination as C. S. Lewis. Here he is at his best drawing for us images of heaven and hell to ponder upon. The point he makes is a sobering one: The people in hell really do not want to go to heaven. They somehow believe God is trying to rob them of something. They want to control there own lives. And God says: 'Thy will be done'.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Always thought-provoking, C.S. Lewis delivers again. A short tale about souls in Hell getting one last chance at redemption. They visit Heaven, but it's surprisingly not as straightforward as you would think for these souls to make their choice between Heaven and Hell. Not as good as the Screwtape Letters, but still worth a read, plus at just over 100 pages, it's a quick read.
lhlady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This classic Lewis book was fascinating, interesting, and moving.
KObooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and thought provoking! Lewis' dream fantasy of what Heaven is/will be like and what keeps someone (and allows another) from entering it. Addresses what role sin plays in our lives and how God and Hell coexist.
kaulsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"No, there is no escape. There is no heaven eith a little bit of hell in it-- no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather." --George MacDonald [1824-1905]This slim volume may not be that starling today, when many believe in Universal salvation, but I imagine it provoke many theological discussions when first published in 1946.I especially enjoyed the end, when Lewis reference Julian of Norwich; 'hungry ghosts' and bodhisattvas of Buddhism; and free will. The vignettes prior to the theological exposition were fun and thought-provoking, though the faint feminist streak in me was disappointed that the men were, in the main, arguing from logic, which the women were petty and desperate in their desire to attach themselves in such a needy manner to others. But this was written in 1946.
jefware on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lively fable about choice and eternity.