The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
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The World's Last Night: And Other Essays

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  638 ratings  ·  57 reviews
“We are not the playwright, we are not the producer, we are not even the audience. We are on the stage. To play well the scenes in which we are "on" concerns us much more than to guess about the scenes that follow it.”

In these seven witty, lucid, and tough-minded essays, the famous,infamous Screwtape makes a special appearance, proposing a toast that brilliantly explores t...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1960)
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Blink by Malcolm GladwellThe First Pillar by Roy HuffProof of Heaven by Eben AlexanderA Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le GuinEverything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
2013 A
62nd out of 109 books — 13 voters
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain by C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisPerelandra by C.S. LewisMiracles by C.S. Lewis
Chronological Reading of C.S. Lewis
37th out of 67 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

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Lewis takes a hard intellectual look at the topics of prayer, the Second Coming of Jesus, and other issues of faith in the collection of essays. His academic and philosophical perspective along with his renowned education give no way to arrogance. Instead, Lewis makes a set of logical yet humble arguments about his subjects to varying degrees. His haughtiest opponents could not, in good conscience, deny Lewis as the epitome of profound logic and beautifully executed argumentation. One of his mos...more
On the efficacy of prayer -- does prayer work? Prayer is a request that may or may not be granted. Jesus prayed three times for the cup to be removed from Him but His request was refused. What is the purpose of prayer? God does not change His overarching plan, but His purpose will be accomplished in different ways based on the actions "including the prayers, of His creatures." Secondly, "On Obstinacy in Belief" Lewis explores the idea while people stick with a specific view. Thirdly, "Lilies tha...more
Some of Lewis' best writing is found in his essays and letters. They're short and always pack a punch. Recommended.
Sep 24, 2011 Zachary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
C.S. Lewis was at the top of his game here. Every essay is a thought provoking one, and most* are prevelent still to this day, even though he wrote them almost forty years ago.

*With the exception of Religion and Rocketry. When he wrote it everyone thought Martians were going to invade the next day, so the essay adresses how Christian should respond to a close encounter with a third kind (even possibly a fourth). So while it is still a fascinating read, it is (for the most part) academic by today...more
Timothy Stone
My favorite non-fiction writer, and favorite writer overall, is C. S. Lewis. His works are always interwoven with truth and wit. He could “outwit” anyone today that prides themselves on verbal combat, but without the cruelty that passes for snark from too many people.

In The World's Last Night and Other Essays, Lewis tackles several questions throughout the writings included therein. Elitism and humility, pride and jealousy, the dangers of authoritarianism degrading the gains won by democracy, an...more
Mar 21, 2014 Shelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
So refreshing and wonderful to read C.S. Lewis once again. This quick read book contains some of his essays, as well as a passage from The Screwtape Letters. I particularly appreciated the very last essay titled "The World's Last Night", which explored the idea of Jesus' second coming. From that essay I have my new favorite Lewis quote, which I think I've already shared on here and written about on my blog, but will share again:

"Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other th...more
Miss Clark
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Just finished. I have to be in a "smart" mood for Lewis, and since I'm only occasionally smart - it took awhile. This collection of seven essays was terrific. I especially enjoyed, "The Efficacy of Prayer", "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", and "The World's Last Night". I'm amazed at how Lewis thinks. I love his examples, how he can take such terribly complex ideas and break them down so we regular dummies can "get it." Here's one for you , Lindsay. "We value Shakespeare for the glory of his languag...more
When I read "The Abolition of Man", (having only read Mere Christianity) I felt that I had started in the wrong place. I was sure that I had just read Lewis’s best work outside of his novels. Maybe the low expectations that gave me helped, but "The World’s Last Night" has just gone above it on my list.

I'll quickly go through them more individually:

“Religion and Rocketry”- One of the latter essays in the collection, this one is at the bottom of my list. It came to the same conclusions I had alrea...more
Rex Libris
This volume is a collection of essays that are, to the best of my knowledge, notto be found elsewhere (with the exception of "Screwtape Proposes a Toast").

"Lilies that Fester" is a prophetic view of modern education and culture. The modern educational systems creates a "culture" that one can only be initiated into by particpation in the same system. What more, the system does not allow for independent thought, but requires adherence to the self-same created culture.

"Screwtape Proposes at Toast"...more
Aug 09, 2011 Ben rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
The World's last night contains seven essays that Lewis penned. My notes on the essays are below:

I. On the efficacy of prayer
1. Lewis opens with a few anecdotes about prayer. Once, on a day that he intended to go to the barber, in preparation for a trip to London, Lewis opened a letter informing him that he need not go to London. Therefore, CS almost put off the haircut, except he could not because of a constant voice telling him to get his hair cut. Immediately after entering the barber's sh...more
I gather this collection of essays is no longer in print in this form. The title essay consists of Lewis's reflections on the end of the world, and it's worth the effort to find that essay. Lewis brings his signature clear thinking to a topic that has suffered from much muddled thought. His wonderful thoughts include an emphasis on Jesus' statement that we can't know when the end will come ("if you don't believe our Lord's words on this, then why do you believe he will come again"); an admonitio...more
Lewis' essays are indispensable.

He repeats himself, of course, since he is not writing for such a collection, but writing occasional prose, usually in response to something stupid someone had said in public. I don't mind reading the same arguments again, or even the same metaphors; it's good to re-examine them.

Lewis is most famous for his defense of monotheism in general and Christianity in particular, but he also proves himself to be, in this little collection, a defender of liberty against t...more
Mary Catelli
Seven essays -- so to speak. One is Screwtape's toast.

Most on religious topics, though there's a heavy touch of apologetics to them, so they aren't solely of interest to his co-religionists. "Lilies That Fester" is about the teaching of literary appreciation and practical criticism to students not yet attending university, and the problem inherent therein. "Religion and Rocketry" on what, exactly, we could find in space and how it could affect -- or not -- religious beliefs. "The World's Last Ni...more
Very interesting book by C.S Lewis, he discusses many aspects of christian faith that seem obvious to christians, but are interesting when they are presented in a way that looks from the outside in on the assumptions that are made.
J. Alfred
Perhaps not Lewis' best, but a good sample of his capacities for thinking seriously about any intellectual or moral problem (no matter how ridiculous-- "Religion and Rocketry" is about the theological concerns that would occur should we ever meet sentient life outside of earth-- and Lewis thinks we won't), and also for bringing his extensively considered, personality-forming understanding of the gospel to bear on any question.
This is a good time to mention a guy named Heath McNease. He's a music...more
In this seven essay volume C.S. Lewis discusses several challenging questions with which the modern Christian must wrestle. The efficacy of prayer, the nature of good works, the meaning of the word 'religion,' the implications of extraterrestrial life, and the doctrine of the Second Coming are all explored with concise lucidity. Lewis doesn't claim to have answers, but he does have some intriguing thoughts.

"The Efficacy of Prayer," "On Obstinacy in Belief," "Lilies that Fester," "Screw...more
Warren B
Wonderful! Great little collection where you can see Lewis' maturity as a thinker progress over his career.
These seven essays are mostly about religion, but some only tangentially. One is written in the voice of everybody's favorite senior demon, Screwtape. The others are more straight-forward essays on the efficiency of prayer, the meaning of "good work," etc.

Despite the lack of cohesion in the collection, each essay is individually pretty good. Lewis has an incredible ability to start with simple ideas and build them up into startling conclusions. His philosophizing never feels too airy or detache...more
The essay on the obstinacy of unbelief, and the title essay are new favorites
I think I must be a total theology geek to actually like reading essays...but I do.

Loved the essay on prayer...that's always been a rather confusing subject for me...I mean, how God's will lines up with the idea of prayer.

Oh, and I really liked the essay on extraterrestrial life. Very good thoughts on what the existence of "aliens" would actually mean.

I really like how Lewis sticks to Biblical doctrine first and foremost before striking out into the confusing world of paradoxes and philosophy....more
Joe Dantona
This is a superb collection of essays. I have often spent much time avoiding eschatology (the study of the end of the world), and here Brother Lewis rebukes me and those like me for it. Christ talked about the end of the world, and that makes it a noteworthy and vital subject; this is the subject of "The World's Last Night."

His other essays are no less brilliant. The validity of prayer, belief and science... Read these. You will not be sorry. Let them prove that a simple essay can change the ope...more
I didn't not start this book with the expectation that it would be like his "Narnia" books, but I was not expecting such deep and prolonged thoughts that required such strenuous thinking from me. I wasn't not prepared for such heavy, pondering questions that were wrapped in almost lyrical prose. This should have been a "buddy-read" that way I had some one to talk to about it and someone that would have made me stretch it out over several nights instead of a day.
Some really good stuff in this book. It's kind of a bunch of random essays thrown together. But all of them were good, and some of them were amazing. The essay on the Efficacy of Prayer and the one on Obstinacy in Belief were so good, they gave me a whole way of thinking about how i view my faith and my prayer life.

If you read this and you like it, next go to C.S Lewis book, "Beyond Personality: The Christian Idea of God." Sooo good.
Like so much that Mr. Lewis writes I know that I am not getting half of what he is talking about. But I hope that somewhere in my soul some part of me is understanding this better than I am in my brain. This book was more political than I expected. Most of it is about the state of the world. He does talk about christain theology and the chapter "Screwtape proposes a toast" was wondeful and gave me chills.
I took up this small book of essays again in my quest to read great writing. Lewis is a master. While none of the essays in this book will be counted among his best, he writes in an engaging, winsome style in all of his nonfiction works. As with most of his books of essays, this collection is very much "of the times." Lewis argues powerfully against the modernist position in many of his essays.
Classic Lewis, lots of really good insights. Favorite essays include his annoyance with the word "cultured" and the people who use it to describe themselves, the title essay which talks about how to live as Christians in light of Christ's return, and "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," a follow-up to Screwtape Letters which specifically targets democratic man.
Jan 13, 2014 Velma marked it as tbr-someday-maybe
"But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again."
Joshua Proctor
Aug 06, 2012 Joshua Proctor rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in theological-philosophical questions
These essays are very thought provoking from the power and efficacy of prayer to the issue of salvation for aliens. C.S. Lewis tackles both questions that many are asking and yet questions that many are afraid to ask. I really enjoyed his last two chapters, "Religion and Rocketry" and "The World's Last Night."
This collection of essays by C.S. Lewis deals with the relationship between Christianity and modern life. Lewis, as usual, proves himself an austute observer and critic of his times. I particularly liked his ideas about modern work, expressed in the essay "Good Works and Good Work."
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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. 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 th...more
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“In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not.” 19 likes
“And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them.” 4 likes
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