C.S. Lewis Was First Published Under a Different Name

Look for “Did you know” articles on NarniaWeb on the first of every month. 

C.S. Lewis’s first two published works were very different than any other that would follow in his famed literary career, in more ways than one.

Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics, is a collection of 40 poems written mainly during 1915-1918, a fascinating period in Lewis’s early life that spanned from his time as a student studying under William T. Kirkpatrick to a soldier in the trenches of World War 1.

Another interesting aspect to Spirits in Bondage, is that he released it under the pseudonym Clive Hamilton. His given first name followed by his mother’s maiden name. Jack only used this name once more, when he released the narrative poem, Dymer, in 1926.

The poems reflect a twenty-year old atheistic Lewis as he “wrestles with the perplexing polarities of life, including love and war, evil and goodness, and other complex dichotomies”. This is a perspective very unique to this book, when you consider the vast majority of Lewis’ written work followed his conversion to Christianity in 1931. 

Much like Jack’s early childhood stories, his poems are mostly read now for those seeking insight into Lewis’s thoughts rather than the strength of the poems themselves.

Spirits in Bondage is the first of Lewis’s works to fall into public domain in the United States. A repackaged edition was published by HarperOne in 2017. 

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5 Responses

  1. Just Queen, not High Queen says:

    I’ll admit, I almost thought this might be an April Fool’s joke. I had to go on Wikipedia to double check since I had never heard of this. I think maybe you should have postponed a day to avoid confusion, lol.

    • Dave Parzival says:

      Why would you think it would be fake?

      • Hi Dave, good question. Perhaps because about 10 years ago and more, Narniaweb would regularly post a fake news story on April 1st as an April Fools’ Day joke. It became a sore point for Narniaweb after in approx 2006 or 2007 they wrote a fake news story that there would be a Susan/Caspian romance in the Prince Caspian movie. Then that prediction came true! So they learned to be careful what you wish for, so to speak! haha

        These days, Narniaweb posts a “Did You Know” article on the first day of each month, hence Just Queen, not High Queen’s comment that maybe they should have postponed the post by one day.
        That’s the context 🙂

        https://www.narniaweb.com/2021/04/why-were-so-cautious-about-april-fools-day/

      • Just Queen, not High Queen says:

        I just was surprised that I had never heard about this and I guess I went onto the website hoping to find a minor April Fool’s joke (though I know why they don’t anymore).

  2. Rogin says:

    Never knew this!