The author seminar on C. S. Lewis presents an introduction to the work and thought of the beloved Oxford don, “Jack” Lewis, by taking students through 7 of his major works. Textual selections provide a diversity in genre, a general accessibility for those newer to Lewis, and a presentation of Lewis’s major ideas. Students read from a collection of essays, from children’s fiction, from satire, from fantasy, from science fiction, and from theology, thus enabling a well-rounded view of Lewis as a scholar, writer, and teacher. In each unit students confront Lewis’s text directly, but often link, synthesize, or contextualize Lewis’s thought along with other writers or commentators such as Louis Markos, Plato, St. Paul, William Blake, George, MacDonald, St. Augustine. The course seeks to balance the development of ideological awareness, linguistic and rhetorical exploration, peer discussion, writing skills, argumentation, oral expression, and vocabulary.
Welcome to our course on CS Lewis. Although this class is centered on a single author, its explorations are wide and varied. Lewis wrote children’s fiction, literary criticism, fantasy, theology, letters, educational treatises, science fiction, autobiography, epistolary fiction, poetry, and philosophy. Our work here will concern us with many of these differing genres, situating us in many regions—real and imaginary—such as the magical land of Narnia, the planet of Malacandra, heaven and hell, a toolshed in Lewis’s back yard, the office of an administrator in the Lowerarchy of Hell, a British boarding school, and a classroom at Oxford University. Keeping up with Lewis is no easy task as he will push our minds to think clearly, our hearts to feel truly, and our imaginations to open widely.
This course on CS Lewis covers 7 of Lewis’s masterpieces. A broad view of Lewis is given, and students will have the opportunity to see his ideas and work from many angles. We will meet Lewis the children’s writer, Lewis the university professor, Lewis the science fiction writer, Lewis the literary scholar, and Lewis the theologian. Through each of the texts, students will sharpen their skills with linguistic analysis, working with syntax, rhetorical devices, tropes, and schemes; studies in vocabulary taken from Lewis’s texts will also be presented in each unit. Writing skills, likewise, receive heavy emphasis both in shorter tasks and several longer papers. Students will practice oratory in the form of oral interpretations and oral exams. All of these academic fundamentals will be rooted in the ideological explorations that Lewis presents as he considers the nature of man, God, knowledge, ethics, society, purpose, and the universe.
This is a 1 semester course consisting of 9 units. Upon successful completion students will receive 0.5 credit towards high school graduation.
Purpose of the Course
This course is designed to continue to develop students’ skills in composition, style, grammar, argumentation, oratory, and philosophy. CS Lewis’s more popular and accessible texts will lead students through his ideas about life, purpose, God, man, knowledge, and morality. Because of the diversity of the texts and the all-encompassing nature of Lewis’s style, the course will extend students beyond mere rational inquiry or technical, academic proficiency. Our hope is that this study of Lewis’s work enables students to successfully front the variety of challenges they will face when they continue their schooling in and out of the university classroom.
Required Course Materials
Please access the list of course materials from the OC Online book ordering system and order your materials as soon as possible. Oftentimes, course materials are on back order and you may experience a delay in receiving them, causing students to fall behind in their online coursework. When ordering used or rented materials, be careful that online access codes are also current.
Methods of Instruction
Instruction in this course will occur in predominantly 5 ways:
Methods of Evaluation
The course uses 9 methods of evaluation. Below is an overview chart.
Number of Tasks
Students will rewrite a primary source sentence using differing rhetorical strategies to achieve syntactic effects.
Rhetorical Terms Quiz
Students will identify rhetorical strategies in primary source texts
Students will write an academic paragraph which argues a claim, provides textual evidence, and furnishes expository analysis.
Students will share their own ideas in response to a primary text and respond to others’ ideas with the forum
Students will learn words from primary sources and then place those words, conjugating them according to syntax and grammar, within sentences.
Students will read primary source text, giving careful attention to the “interpretation” of their reading in its control of rate, pitch, emphasis, enunciation, and volume.
These assignments call students to synthesize ideas within and between pieces and authors, showing connections and differences.
These assessments will be given by the instruction 1:1 and will afford the student the chance to verbally respond to a question.
These longer papers will combine the smaller CEW paragraphs into a larger, coherent whole.
Methods of Evaluation
Students will demonstrate mastery through the following formative and summative assessments:
This course will use 3 rubrics.
CEW Rubric: this scoring guide will break down argumentative paragraphs into their claims, their evidence, and their warrants.
Multi-Paragraph Rubric: this scoring guide will break down larger papers into 5 components: Introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, concluding paragraph, fluency/style, and conventions.
Oral Interpretation Rubric: this scoring guide will divide speaking skills into 5 categories: rate, emphasis, pitch, enunciation, and volume.