The Four Loves

The Four Loves

by C. S. Lewis


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A repackaged edition of the revered author's classic work that examines the four types of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God—part of the C. S. Lewis Signature Classics series.

C.S. Lewis—the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics—contemplates the essence of love and how it works in our daily lives in one of his most famous works of nonfiction. Lewis examines four varieties of human love: affection, the most basic form; friendship, the rarest and perhaps most insightful; Eros, passionate love; charity, the greatest and least selfish. Throughout this compassionate and reasoned study, he encourages readers to open themselves to all forms of love—the key to understanding that brings us closer to God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062565396
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/14/2017
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 35,828
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.43(d)

About the Author

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, when 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 thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1898

Date of Death:

November 22, 1963

Place of Birth:

Belfast, Nothern Ireland

Place of Death:

Headington, England


Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A rare and memorable book." —Saturday Review

"The Four Loves deserves to become a minor classic as a modern mirror of our souls, a mirror of the virtues and failings of human loving." —New York Times Book Review

"[Lewis] has never written better. Nearly every page scintillates with observations which are illuminating, provocative and original." —Church Times

"What is interesting about these chapters is the extent to which a non-believer can follow the argument and receive enlightenment … Lewis has a keen eye, a large measure of human sympathy, wit, and a command of simple words … By writing so well and so perceptively about ‘natural’ human conduct, Lewis makes the strongest case for examining his conclusions with respect. He is writing, presumably, for the unconverted as well as for Christians, and whatever the former may believe or disbelieve about God they are persuaded that he could only exist as a culmination in absolute terms of their deepest moral convictions."—Times Literary Supplement

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The Four Loves 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Four Loves' teaches you so much about the nature of the different types of love (Affection, Friendship, Eros, Charity). Some of the loves are intertwined with each other, however, you will soon be able to distinguish one from another. You'll learn a lot about yourself as well as others. This book will help you to live your life selflessly. I'll leave you with 2 quotes: ' a good friendship, each member often feels humility towards the rest. He sees that they are splendid and counts himself lucky to be among them.' 'When we see the face of God, we shall know that we have always known it.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alongside Fromm's 'The Art of Loving,' Peck's 'The Road Less Traveled,' and Krishnamurti's writing, Lewis' 'The Four Loves' is one of the best books of the twentieth century on the subject of love and relationships.
Rioduranie69 More than 1 year ago
Must be patient with love, too. It was difficult to read and took me a couple of times to truly understand the message, but well worth it and very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best authors I have ever read. This book goes really deep, and makes you think, so don't pick it up for a stroll in the park! I've gotten so much out of it, and I know every time I re-read it (which I plan on doing!), I will find more and more things that I can apply to my walk with God and my everyday life. I highly Recommend this book for a book study with a group of friends so you can share the things that you learned with everyone, and puzzle out the more confusing passages together!
erikssonfamily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As someone else stated, the book can be tedious to read. I likewise found myself rereading passages and double checking my progress. With that said, the book is fantastic and worth the read. It is uplifting and will help shape the biblical concept of love. I always find Lewis to be humble and refreshing. Worth the read!
JaneSteen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't read as much C.S. Lewis as I'd like. He always sounds like he's talking to himself, and then he zaps you with something so profound that you never forget it. This book is no exception, and says many things that made me feel quite uncomfortable. CSL explores various degrees of love: affection, friendship, Eros, and charity. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a great place to start thinking about the role of love in your own life and in society.
macii on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was excited to begin this book examining love, but as I journeyed further in the work, I did not enjoy this work as well as "Mere Christianity," possibly because of where I am at in life. Even still, I found great insight and depth in Lewis' words.In "The Four Loves," Lewis examines the human loves of admiration, friendship, Eros (romantic), need-love, and gift-love as well as God's love for us. His ever-occurring and ever-important theme is strongly present: What seems to be the very highest of things--the most holy--can also take the place of a god, and thus become a demon in our lives. Here are some of Lewis' words to help explain: "Of all loves he [Eros] is, at his height, most god-like; therefore most prone to demand our worship. Of himself he always tend to turn "being in love" into a sort of religion . . . 'In love' we have our own 'law,' a religion of our own, our own god. Where a true Eros is present resistance to his commands feels like apostasy, and what are really (by the Christian standard) temptations speak with the voices of duties--quasi-religious duties, acts of pious zeal to love. . . Thus, Eros, like the other loves, but more strikingly because of his strength, sweetness, terror and high port, reveals his true status. He cannot of himself be what, nevertheless, he must be if he is to remain Eros. He needs help; therefore needs to be ruled. The god dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God."I also very much appreciated Lewis' analogy of the difference between these things that seem most holy, or that which is in our nature very near to God, but do not bring us to a "nearness of approach" to God: "Let us suppose that we are doing a mountain walk to the village which is our home. At mid-day we come to the top of a cliff where we are, in space, very near it because it is just below us. We could drop a stone into it. But as we are no cragsmen we can't get down. We must go a long way round; five miles, maybe. At many points during that 'detour' we shall, statically, be farther from the village than we were when we sat above the cliff. But only statically. In terms of progress we shall be far 'nearer' our baths and teas. Since God is blessed, omnipotent, sovereign and creative, there is obviously a sense in which happiness, strength, freedom and fertility (whether of mind or body), wherever they appear in human life, constitute likeness, and in that way proximities, to God. But no one supposes that the possession of these gifts has any necessary connection with our sanctification. No kind of riches is a passport to the Kingdom of Heaven. . . What is near Him by likeness is never, by that fact alone, going to be any nearer. But nearness of approach is, by definition, increasing nearness. And whereas the likeness is given to us--and can be received with or without thanks, can be used or abused--the approach, however initiated and supported by Grace, is something we must do."Lewis also presents the concept of not being able to have the "higher without the lower." To express this idea, he points to St. Francis calling his body "Brother Ass." "Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful. So the body. There's no living with it till we recognise that one of its functions in our lives is to play the part of buffoon."I fully enjoyed the last chapter, "Charity" because it pulls all of the loves together and then points to God. This was my favorite chapter and the one that held the most meaning.Lewis is once again brilliant in his presentations and shares ideas that for lack of better words "blow my mind."
wktarin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good thoughts, as always, but I felt he didn¿t go deep enough.
tpfleg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing book with excellent insight into the topic of love. This is one to add to your 'read yearly' list. I can't recommend it enough!
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'll admit that I haven't read a ton of work by Lewis, but of the work I have read, The Four Loves felt the most scholarly, moreso even than my recollections of Mere Christianity. In The Four Loves, Lewis breaks down the concept of love and analyzes it from a moral and Christian perspective. He uses familiar scholarly concepts from Plato's day by breaking love into the same four main segments that the Greeks used: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity. He adds to this the Christian scriptural reference that "God is Love" and then explores the religious aspects of love.Some of the scholarly breakdown twisted my brain a little bit and took multiple readings to try and untangle¿as he expounded on "Need Love" versus "Gift Love", I was right there with him, but when he started putting forth various in-depth analysis between Venus (sexuality) and Eros (romantic 'being in love'), things started to get muddled¿and when he broke into the chapter on Charity, there were a number of theoretical and rhetorical leaps that were difficult for me to follow at times.Overall though and in spite of moments of confusion, the general message of the book was good and well presented. He provided great insight into the differences between each of the categories presented. The concept of Affection vs Friendship in terms of what makes a 'real friend' was rather intriguing, especially as he continued his examples through love's progression to show how and why friendships are formed or fail to be formed, how and why friendships can grow into romantic relationships or not, and what aspect Charity plays in all of this.As with Lewis's other books, there is plenty of theological discussion going on. I don't agree with everything he had to say, which is fine, but I think he made some great points. During the last chapter or so as he speaks on Charity, he provides some great nuggets for us to think on as we think about our own charitable behaviors. He also talks about the idea of Charity being both a 'need love' and a 'gift love' and that as we engage in that paradox, we are growing nearer to God's love.I enjoyed the message of the book and the well thought out and well expressed arguments Lewis makes. The tone of the book was a little too scholarly at times which made it occasionally hard to read (since I've just finished school and am enjoying the break *grin*).Still, I really like Lewis's insights, research and writing. I enjoyed "Mere Christianity" and "Screwtape" and I'm looking into a few of his other 'theological'/'scholarly' works. He has a nice style and presents great messages without being overly preachy.****3.5 out of 5 stars
wiseasgandalf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lewis' genius in all his writings shows forth as piercing insight in warm and delightful prose, and he brilliantly succeeds in this book. There has been more written on love than perhaps any other topic, but the vast majority is mindless drivel or hormone driven blindness or sentimental fluff or philosphical madness. Lewis will have none of that: he sets forth the nature and varieties of human and divine love, and through his keen insight allows us to see ourselves, others, and God better. His basic franework for the book is looking at love through the four different kinds of love that the Greeks defined. He devotes chapters to the "natural" human loves of storge, the love of family affection; philia, the love of friendship; eros, the love of sexual love and romance. He looks at their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. He also looks at love through a three fold division between need-love, gift-love, and the love of appreciation. Lastly, he examines agape, the selfless love of charity. In some of the most beautiful passages he ever wrote Lewis describes how agape perfects our natural loves and prepares us both to truly love God and be like Him. "When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it." Leading a life marked by love is not a matter of just reading a book, but understanding the nature of God and the nature of love. This book is welcome wisdom in leading such a life.
morningsidefamily on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As usual with Lewis, excellent analysis of the finer shadings of a topic. Among other things, the discussion of friendship, as opposed to affection, is personally helpful. I'm on my third copy of this book. I lost the first in college, the next eventually fell apart from use, and the new one awaits fresh underlinings after twenty years of rereading.
Rebekah84 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I normally LOVE Lewis, but I had a hard time getting through this book. For some reason, his style was hard to read and I found myself constanty just reading without paying attention to the words. Still a good book, but you have to be prepared to Focus!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I always love reading anything by C.S. Lewis. He is my go-to author! This book is basically Lewis just talking about his insights and his perspectives on love. It's almost like I am out with him drinking coffee at the cafe and he's just sharing his thoughts on love and friendship. There was a lot of contradictions i.e. s-x without love can be a good thing...friendship can be a bad thing. And I was like, "Okay...explain." And Lewis *does* explain and offers terrific ideals and values on love, friendship, Affection, Charity and the like. For anyone who loves hearing Lewis "talk", this is a great book to read. - Sunshine
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