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C. S. Lewis to be honoured in Poets' Corner

22nd November 2012

A memorial stone to writer, scholar and novelist C. S. Lewis will be placed in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey next November, to mark the 50th anniversary of his death.

Lewis joins a select group of poets, playwrights and authors to have been buried or commemorated there, including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, John Keats, William Blake and T. S. Eliot, in a tradition stretching back 600 years.

Belfast-born Lewis (1898-1963) is best known for his fictional work The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of books that has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Other works include The Screwtape Letters, The 'Space' trilogy and the non-fiction titles Mere Christianity and Miracles.

Vernon White, canon theologian at Westminster Abbey, told the BBC Lewis was an 'extraordinarily imaginative and rigorous thinker and writer'. '[He] was able to convey the Christian faith in a way that made it both credible and attractive to a wide range of people,' he said.

Poets' Corner is one of the best known parts of Westminster Abbey and can be found in its South Transept. Chaucer was the first poet to be buried there, followed by Edmund Spenser in 1599.

Burial or commemoration in the Corner did not always happen at or soon after the time of death. Shakespeare, for example, was buried at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616 but had to wait until 1740 before a monument appeared in Poets' Corner.

The epitaph on the memorial to T. S. Eliot perhaps sums up its spirit the best: 'The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.'

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