Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: August 2015
Duration: 14 hours 0 minutes
The first full biography of Joy Davidman brings her out from C. S. Lewis’ shadow, where she has long been hidden, to reveal a powerful writer and thinker.
Joy Davidman is known, if she is known at all, as the wife of C. S. Lewis. Their marriage was immortalized in the film Shadowlands and Lewis’ memoir A Grief Observed. Now, through extraordinary new documents as well as years of research and interviews, Abigail Santamaria brings Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis to the page in the fullness and depth she deserves.
A poet and radical, Davidman was a frequent contributor to the communist vehicle New Masses and an active member of New York literary circles in the 1930s and ’40s. Born Jewish in the Bronx, she was an atheist, then a practitioner of Dianetics; she converted to Christianity after experiencing a moment of transcendent grace. A mother, a novelist, a vibrant and difficult and intelligent woman, she set off for England in 1952, determined to captivate the man whose work had changed her life.
Davidman became the intellectual and spiritual partner Lewis never expected but cherished. She helped him refine his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and to write his novel Till We Have Faces. Their relationship—begun when Joy wrote to Lewis as a religious guide—grew from a dialogue about faith, writing, and poetry into a deep friendship and a timeless love story.
“Abigail Santamaria’s biography of Joy Davidman is a tour de force of research and writing. Plumbing the depths of unpublished documents, Santamaria reveals the vision and writing of a young woman whose coming of age in the turbulent ’30s is both distinctive and emblematic of her time. With exquisite sensitivity tinctured by realism, Santamaria explores the love shared by Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, smashing old myths with fresh insights that illuminate their desire for love and the universal longing for spiritual transcendence.”—Susan Hertog, author of Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Her Life
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