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C. S. Lewis and the Craft of Communication

Steven A. Beebe

C. S. Lewis, based on the popularity of his books and essays, is one of the best communicators of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he was hailed for his talents as author, speaker, educator, and broadcaster; he continues to be a best-selling author more than a half-century after his death.

C. S. Lewis and the Craft of Communication analyzes Lewis’s communication skill. A comprehensive review of Lewis’s work reveals five communication principles that explain his success as a communicator. Based on Lewis’s own advice about communication in his books, essays, and letters, as well as his communication practice, being a skilled communicator is to be holistic, intentional, transpositional, evocative, and audience-centered. These five principles are memorably summarized by the acronym HI TEA. Dr. Steven Beebe, past president of the National Communication Association and an internationally-recognized communication author and educator, uses Lewis’s own words to examine these five principles in a most engaging style.

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This book has been an important part of my life for more than a decade. I have many people to thank for their encouragement, ideas, support, and suggestions.

Several people spent many hours reading the manuscript and offered detailed comments, affirmations, corrections, and suggestions. Although all errors are mine, I benefited from the generous offering of wise counsel from many people: Diana Ivy (the first person I trusted to read this book offered unswerving encouragement), Joel Heck (whose knowledge of Lewis was invaluable), Jerry Root (a master communicator and Lewis scholar), Michael Ward (whose knowledge of Lewis is unbounded), Andrew Lazo (who has a considerable gift with words), Will Vaus (who helped me fine-tune my ideas), Karen Black (an astonishingly gifted proofreader), Greg Anderson (who was especially helpful with Chapter 6), William O’Flaherty (who helped confirm the validity of my Lewis quotes) and Susan Beebe (editor extraordinaire) each offered invaluable comments, critiques, and encouragement after carefully reading drafts of the manuscript. Thank you for the countless ways you made this a better book.

Several Oxford friends offered support, ideas, encouragement and a listening ear as I’ve developed ideas for the book.

• Walter Hooper, a dear friend and the pre-eminent C. S. Lewis scholar in the world, offered enthusiastic encouragement, ideas, support, suggestions, inspiration, loan of manuscripts, and Lewis handwriting expertise. Thank you, Walter, for being such an important friend and inspiration to me.

• Priscilla Tolkien, a good and wise friend, offered her...

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