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Readers choosing books that are still intact from among the charred timbers of the Holland House library, London, October 23, 1940. (Photo by Harrison/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Things Worth Remembering: C.S. Lewis on Keeping Calm in Chaos

In his 1939 sermon at Oxford, ‘Learning in Wartime,’ C.S. Lewis reminded his audience that by forging ahead in the worst of times, we can touch the divine.

Welcome to Douglas Murray’s column, Things Worth Remembering, in which he presents great speeches from famous orators we should commit to heart. To listen to Douglas recite C.S. Lewis’s “Learning in Wartime,” scroll to the end of this piece.

Great oratory chimes across the centuries. I don’t just mean that it rings true to us many years later, but that it gives off resonances and harmonics of speeches that have gone before. 

If anyone carried a knowledge not just of the human heart but human history, it was C.S. Lewis. Born in Belfast in 1898, Lewis was educated in England, served in World War I, took a double degree at Oxford, and then stayed on to become a fellow at my old college, Magdalen.

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