Lewis and Male Chauvinism

I enjoyed listening to this lecture on Till We Have Faces by Peter Kreeft (Roman Catholic philosopher, professor at Boston College, author of dozens of books, huge C.S. Lewis fan).  Right off the bat he mentions how one of the book’s early reviewers – not yet knowing who the author was – insisted the book’s author must be a woman, because the book is told from the point of view of a woman (Orual), and no male author could ever have understand the world from a woman’s point of view so well.  It just so happens that this same reviewer…

Themes in Till We Have Faces

I’ve been listening to my favorite book this week, C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces.  Its one of those books that sneaks up on you.  You can get 2/3 through it – perhaps even 3/4 – and still be thinking, “whats all the fuss about this book?”  But then at the end everything comes crashing down on you, and you never look at the world in the same way again.  Its quite an experience.  I didn’t know how much a story could move or teach me until I read this one.  And now I keep seeing new levels of truth…

Literary Creativity in That Hideous Strength

Okay, another quick post on That Hideous Strength. Walter Savage Landor once wrote, after quoting two lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost, “I would rather have written these two lines than all the poetry that as been written since Milton’s time in all the regions of the earth.” The lines from Milton are (in context refering to God and his angels): Yield with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet, reluctant, amorous, delay. Have you ever run across a sentence that was so beautifully put that you would rather have written it than all the books in the world? I’m not sure…

That Hideous Strength

This week I have been listening to C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength, which may be my second favorite of his books, after Till We Have Faces. It starts off a bit slowly, and its perhaps not as quotable as Lewis’ other works, but in its last 1/5 or so everything comes together and the plot becomes extremely exciting. My overall favorite thing about the book is the characterization. There’s Mark, whose desire for the “inner circle” will make him do anything, including very nearly destroy himself and make a fool of himself in the process. And then there’s Jane, who…

Lewis on the Satanic Fall and Corruption of Nature (again)

In my previous series of posts arguing that the Satanic fall may be the explanation for the fallenness of nature, I quoted C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, chapter 9, “On Animal Pain.” While listening to his Miracles the other day I discovered that he put forward the same view in chapter 14 of this book, “The Grand Miracle.” He writes: “according to the Christians (Nature’s depravity) is all due to sin: the sin both of men and of powerful, non-human beings, super-natural but created…. Beings in a different, and higher ‘Nature’ which is partially interlocked with ours have, like…

The Living God

I’ve been listening to the audio version of C.S. Lewis’ Miracles while walking dogs lately, and I must say that chapter 11 of this book, “Christianity and ‘Religion,’” which addresses the doctrine of Trinity and the difference between Christian theism and pantheism, is as helpful and compact and lucid a piece of theology as anything I have ever read. There is more insight and worth in this little chapter, so far as I am concerned, than in 98% of modern published books. Here is Lewis’ conclusion, which is less the argument and more the climax of the chapter: Men are…

Personalized Praise

“Each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently?” C.S. Lewis, quoted in Peter Kreeft, “Lewis’ Philosophy of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty,” in C.S. Lewis as Philosopher: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (IVP, 2008), 36.

Lewis, Tolkien, and Friendship

One of the interesting parts about The Narnian has been reading about Lewis’ friendships, and in particular his friendship with Tolkien. They made some funny statements about each other. For example, on hearing that the London newspaper the Daily Telegraph had done an article on Lewis which at one point referred to him as “ascetic Mr. Lewis,” Tolkien wrote to his son, “‘Ascetic Mr. Lewis’ -!!! I ask you! He put away three pints in a very short session we had this morning, and said he was ‘going short for Lent.’” Concering Tolkien’s reluctance to receive criticism and make changes…

The Narnian

I am reading, and immensely enjoying, Alan Jacob’s The Narnian, an intellectual biography of C.S. Lewis that has come out within the last few years. Among many other passages and themes that could be commented on, I was particularly struck by his description of the changes in Lewis’s personality and capacity for delight brought about by his conversion. Its a very moving passage (from p. 131, italics his): “I first read a book by C.S. Lewis twenty-five years ago, and I have been reading his work consistently since then. I know his writerly voice quite well, as well as I…

Some favorite passages from That Hideous Strength

I recently re-read That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis, and enjoyed it so much. One of my favorite things about this book is the creativity Lewis used in making the characters in leadership of the N.I.C.E. – Wither, Miss Hardcastle, Frost, Straik, Filostrato, Feverstone, etc. – anyone who has read the book knows what I mean. Here are two of my favorite scenes in the book. The first is a phone conversation that showcases the character of John Wither, the Deputy Director of the N.I.C.E. Somewhat random, but I like it because it shows his character so well. The second…