loading spinner
North Carolina

The Life and Works of C. S. Lewis: Inspiration, Belief and the Power of Language

Program No. 21023RJ
See the world through the eyes of C. S. Lewis as you join experts to view and discuss rare materials, hear a broadcast from his Oxford days and have a virtual visit of his England home.

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
899
Aug 4 - Aug 9, 2024
Starting at
899
May 18 - May 23, 2025
Starting at
949
Aug 3 - Aug 8, 2025
Starting at
949
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
1,099
Aug 4 - Aug 9, 2024
Starting at
1,099
May 18 - May 23, 2025
Starting at
1,179
Aug 3 - Aug 8, 2025
Starting at
1,179

At a Glance

Enjoy a comprehensive survey of C. S. Lewis’ life and work. Led by a noted Lewis scholar, focus on his extraordinary imagination and how he presented a rational basis for Christian faith, powerfully, persuasively and delightfully developed in books and movies that have achieved worldwide popularity.
Activity Level
Easy Going
All facilities are in one building, with approximately 300 yards walking required; a few stairs. Outside areas are mountainous, with inclines and uneven terrain.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • In addition to selections from his letters, journals, poems, fiction and non-fiction, view and discuss important new video productions and gain perspectives on the ideas, thoughts and opinions of the 20th century’s most popular Christian author.
  • Hear a rare broadcast of one of Lewis’ talks on BBC radio during WWII when he was at Oxford, including material that later appeared in his book on theology, Mere Christianity, considered a classic of Christian apologetics.
  • Take a “virtual” exploration of Lewis’ home — The Kilns — in Oxford, England, and learn about newly discovered love sonnets written to Lewis by his wife, Joy Davidman.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Opportunities are available for traveling companions to attend a different program at Montreat during the same week. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Don King
Don King led seminars on C. S. Lewis at the Kilns — Lewis’ home just outside Oxford — for the C. S. Lewis Foundation in 2004, 2009, 2019, and 2023. A professor of English since 1974, he has written books including "C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse," "Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman," "The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition," and "A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman’s Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis and Other Poems."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Don King
Don King led seminars on C. S. Lewis at the Kilns — Lewis’ home just outside Oxford — for the C. S. Lewis Foundation in 2004, 2009, 2019, and 2023. A professor of English since 1974, he has written books including "C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse," "Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman," "The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis: A Critical Edition," and "A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman’s Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis and Other Poems."
Profile Image of Tracy Bailey
Tracy Bailey View biography
Tracy has been on the program staff of Montreat Conference Center since 1986. She began working with Elderhostel programs in 1989, and in 1997 assumed the additional role of on-site coordinator. A native of the area, she graduated from Asheville-Buncombe Technical College in 1981. Her favorite hobbies are hiking, pottery and reading. Tracy married Sam in 2007, and added three daughters to her family. In addition to her own grown children, she and Sam have been foster parents since 2010. They have four grandchildren.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Naked Tree: Joy Davidman's Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis and other Poems
by Joy Davidman, edited by Don King
Although best known as C. S. Lewis's wife, Joy Davidman was a gifted writer herself who produced, among other things, two novels and an award-winning volume of poetry in her short lifetime. The first comprehensive collection of Davidman's poetry, A Naked Tree includes the poems that originally appeared in her Letter to a Comrade (1938), forty other published poems, and more than two hundred previously unpublished poems that came to light in a remarkable 2010 discovery. Of special interest is Davidman's sequence of forty-five love sonnets to C. S. Lewis, which offer stunning evidence of her spiritual struggles with regard to her feelings for Lewis, her sense of God's working in her lonely life, and her mounting frustration with Lewis for keeping her at arm's length emotionally and physically. Readers of these Davidman poems -- arranged chronologically by Don King -- will discover three recurring, overarching themes: God, death, and immortality; politics, including capitalism and communism; and (the most by far) romantic, erotic love. This volume marks Joy Davidman as a figure to be reckoned with in the landscape of twentieth-century American poetry.
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
by C. S. Lewis
"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous." This book is not an autobiography. It is not a confession. It is, however, certainly one of the most beautiful and insightful accounts of a person coming to faith. Here, C.S. Lewis takes us from his childhood in Belfast through the loss of his mother, to boarding school and a youthful atheism in England, to the trenches of World War I, and then to Oxford, where he studied, read, and, ultimately, reasoned his way back to God. It is perhaps this aspect of Surprised by Joy that we—believers and nonbelievers—find most compelling and meaningful; Lewis was searching for joy, for an elusive and momentary sensation of glorious yearning, but he found it, and spiritual life, through the use of reason. In this highly personal, thoughtful, intelligent memoir, Lewis guides us toward joy and toward the surprise that awaits anyone who seeks a life beyond the expected. "Lewis tempered his logic with a love for beauty, wonder, and magic . . . He speaks to us with all the power and life-changing force of a Plato, a Dante, and a Bunyan."—Christianity Today "The tension of these final chapters holds the interest like the close of a thriller."—Times Literary Supplement C. S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898–1963), one of the great writers of the twentieth century, also continues to be one of our most influential Christian thinkers. He wrote more than thirty books, both popular and scholarly
Mere Christianity
by C. S. Lewis
In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C. S. Lewis
Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice. Open the door and enter a new world! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages with a magical land and unforgettable characters for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to discover more about Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Inkling, Historian, Soldier and Brother: A Life of Warren Hamilton Lewis
by Don King
Detailing the life of Warren Hamilton Lewis, author Don W. King gives us new insights into the life and mind of Warren’s famous brother, C. S. Lewis, and also demonstrates how Warren’s experiences provide an illuminating window into the events, personalities, and culture of 20th-century England. Inkling, Historian, Soldier, and Brother will appeal to those interested in C. S. Lewis and British social and cultural history. As a career soldier, Warren served in France during the nightmare of World War I and was later posted to Sierra Leone and Shanghai. On his retirement from the army, he became an active member of the household at the Kilns, the residence outside Oxford that he co-owned with his brother and Mrs. Janie Moore, and he played an important role in the relationship between his brother and Joy Davidman, the woman who became C. S. Lewis’s wife. A talented writer and accomplished amateur historian, Warren also researched and wrote seven books on 17th-century French history. Inkling, Historian, Soldier, and Brother examines Warren Lewis’s role as an original member of the Oxford Inklings—that now famous group of novelists, thinkers, clergy, poets, essayists, medical men, scholars, and friends who met regularly to drink beer; discuss books, ideas, history, and writers; and share pieces of their own writing for feedback from the group. Drawing from Warren Lewis’s unpublished diaries, his letters, the memoir he wrote about his family, and other primary materials, this biography is an engaging story of a fascinating life, period of history, and of the warm and loving relationship between Warren and his brother, which lasted throughout their lives.
Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman
by Don King
Joy Davidman (1915–1960) is probably best known today as the woman that C. S. Lewis married in the last decade of his life. But she was also an accomplished writer in her own right — an award winning poet and a prolific book, theater, and film reviewer during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Yet One More Spring is the first comprehensive critical study of Joy Davidman's poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Don King studies her body of work — including both published and unpublished works — chronologically, tracing her development as a writer and revealing Davidman's literary influence on C. S. Lewis. King also shows how Davidman's work reflects her religious and intellectual journey from secular Judaism to atheism to Communism to Christianity. Drawing as it does on a cache of previously unknown manuscripts of Davidman's work, Yet One More Spring brings to light the work of a very gifted but largely overlooked American writer.
A Grief Observed
by C. S. Lewis
Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moment," A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: "Nothing will shake a man -- or at any rate a man like me -- out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.
The Screwtape Letters
by C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to "Our Father Below." At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.
Plain to the Inward Eye: Selected Essays on C. S. Lewis
by Don King
A collection of essays by a career C . S . Lewis scholar on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis's death. C. S. Lewis scholar Don W. King has kept a critical eye on the work by and about Lewis for four decades. Now, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis's death, King has put together a collection of his essays and critical reviews organized around four areas. The first deals mainly with what will perhaps be Lewis's longest lasting legacy--his ''Chronicles of Narnia.'' The second deals with Lewis's poetry, a neglected area of his work. The third focuses on Lewis and the two women poets with whom he had lasting relationships: Ruth Pitter and Joy Davidman. (Lewis and Davidman eventually fell in love and later married, twice.) The fourth offers a critical perspective on the way in which critical interest in Lewis has developed over the last thirty years.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreat, NC
D
Assembly Inn

Activity note: Inn check-in from 3:00 p.m. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously) and your original vaccine card(s).

Afternoon: Assembly Inn check-in 3:00-5:30 p.m. Pull up to the Assembly Inn porch to unload, then park your vehicle in any designated spot close to the Inn or by the lake and check in. Program Registration. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Feel free to relax in your room, meet and enjoy fellowship with other participants in the beautiful lobby, or stretch your legs with a walk around the campus before dinner. You will be sharing this week at the Inn with the Presbyterian Military Chaplains group.

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. All meals are served buffet-style in our Galax Dining Room, or if you prefer, enjoy a meal outside in our Tea Garden or on Wharton Porch! We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions requested by our guests. Below are just some of the options that might make up each of your dinner meals. •Fresh salad bar •Baked chicken •Roast beef •Broiled fish •Mashed potatoes •Assorted vegetables •Assorted desserts •Iced tea •Regular & decaf coffees. We do bus our own dishes at each meal.

Evening: Orientation: 7:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will also meet the instructor. This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Programming at Retreat locations includes opportunities for light morning exercise, interaction with members of the local community, a farm-to-table meal, and evening entertainment. Sleeping and dining facilities are in one building, with approximately 300 yards walking required. On some evenings, there will be entertainment such as a concert, dance, or storyteller followed by opportunities for fellowship in the lobby of the Inn. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll finish up around 8:00 p.m. with some “get to know you” activities and then have refreshments and fellowship in the lobby. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
C.S. Lewis Early Life, Norse Influence, WWI & Oxford
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn

Activity note: Classroom based program. Join us in the main lobby from 7:30 - 7:45 for early morning stretches with Martha Nelson. Walk around Montreat for those who are interested.

Breakfast: (early morning coffee out around 6:30 a.m.) Our breakfast buffet is served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room. Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? If so, you're in for a treat this week! Breakfast options change daily, incorporating lots of your favorites... biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, grits, hash browns, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal (not the packaged kind either), and lots of others. Standard offerings include fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, granola, baked pastries, orange juice (and another juice option). Fresh coffee or hot tea will start your morning off right! Join us in the main lobby from 7:30 - 7:45 for early morning stretches with Martha Nelson.

Morning: During the early morning course, we will explore Lewis’s early life, especially his imaginative life, including the worlds of Boxen and Animal-Land that he and his brother, Warren, invented, mapped, and peopled. We'll have a mid-morning refreshment break and then return to class for the lecture and discussion about the gradual erosion of his Christian faith and his embracing instead of “northernness”—that is, a fascination with Norse mythology.

Lunch: Lunch is served from 12:30 - 1:30 in the Assembly Inn Dining Room

Afternoon: Afternoon course will trace Lewis's imaginative life during WWI and through his days as an undergraduate and later fellow at Oxford University. 3:30 Walk Around Montreat (guided tour of grounds) or free time

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room

Evening: Our evening program will feature a local musician/band or or a storyteller. The remainder of the evening is at leisure, with activities in the lobby of the Inn for fellowship.

DAY
3
Christian Conversion, 30s & 40s, Chronicles of Narnia, Hike
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn

Activity note: Classroom based program. Join us in the main lobby from 7:30 - 7:45 for early morning stretches with Martha Nelson. Hike in the mountains this afternoon for those who are interested.

Breakfast: Another great Breakfast buffet, served 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room

Morning: During the morning course, with Don King, we'll have a careful exploration of Lewis's conversion to Christianity and how his imagination played a key role in the process. Mid-morning, we'll have a refreshment break and then return to class for an examination of Lewis's imaginative life through the 1930s and 1940s, noting in particular the important books where we find Lewis's imagination impacting his approach to Christian apologetics, including The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce.

Lunch: Lunch is served from 12:30 - 1:30 in the Assembly Inn Dining Room.

Afternoon: During our afternoon course, we will focus upon Lewis's later imaginative writings, especially The Chronicles of Narnia. 3:30 Enjoy a hike in the mountains or Free Time

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Evening: 7:00 - 8:00 evening program: Evening programs are typically a fun event -- a dance, a concert, or a storyteller games/cards/tv available in lobby for fellowship.

DAY
4
Joy Davidman's Influence, Free Aft., Lewis's Oxford Home
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn

Activity note: Classroom based program. Join us in the main lobby from 7:30 - 7:45 for early morning stretches with Martha Nelson.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room.

Morning: During the early morning course, with Don King, we will consider how Till We Have Faces and The Four Loves may have been influenced by his great love, Joy Davidman. We'll have a mid-morning refreshment break and then return to class. In part, we will examine some of Joy's letters written during this time that reveals Lewis’s daily writing schedule and other related matters.

Lunch: Lunch is served from 12:30 - 1:30 in the Assembly Inn Dining Room.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration.Free time to explore the area!

Dinner: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room. We will enjoy a farm-to-table meal.

Evening: Evening course offers a "vrtual exploration" of Lewis's home--The Kilns--in Oxford, England.

DAY
5
Discussion of a BBC Radio Broadcast by Lewis during WWII
Montreat, NC
B,L,D
Assembly Inn

Activity note: Classroom based program. Join us in the main lobby from 7:30 - 7:45 for early morning stretches with Martha Nelson.

Breakfast: Buffet Breakfast is served from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room. !

Morning: During the early morning courses, with Don King, we will hear and discuss a rare broadcast of one of Lewis's talks on BBC radio during World War II, when he was at Oxford, including materials that later appear in his book on theology, Mere Christianity, considered a classic of Christian apologetics. Mid-morning, we'll have a break with some refreshments and fellowship.

Lunch: Lunch is served from 12:30 - 1:30 in the Assembly Inn Dining Room

Afternoon: Afternoon course continues our discussion of C S Lewis. 3:30 - 5:30 free time

Dinner: Dinner will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room

Evening: We’ll gather for a last evening together as a group (probably a concert), followed by an opportunity for games/cards/TV in lobby for fellowship. Prepare for check-out and departure after lunch tomorrow. Sign up for a box lunch if you have to leave Montreat before lunch tomorrow.

DAY
6
Discussion of Lewis's Legacy, Lunch and Departures
Montreat, NC
B,L

Breakfast: Breakfast, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. in the Assembly Inn Dining Room.

Morning: During our final morning courses, will offer an overview and wrap up of the implications of Lewis’s imagination on his work as a Christian apologist. We will conclude by considering what might be Lewis’s “legacy” as a writer in the future. For instance, we will consider the questions: “Which of Lewis’s books will people probably still be reading a hundred years from now in 2113? Why? We'll have a mid-morning refreshment break and opportunity to check out of your room (checkout required by 11 a.m.). Class will continue until noon, then we'll have lunch and say our goodbyes.

Lunch: Lunch is served in the Assembly Inn Dining Room (Box lunches will be available for those who cannot stay through lunch, if they were requested on Thursday)






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.