Skip to comments.Into the Wonder
Posted on 12/10/2005 9:56:01 AM PST by sionnsar
You won't understand the genius of C. S. Lewis's literary criticism, satire, science fiction, and theological essays until you spend time in Narnia.
posted 12/09/2005 11:30 a.m. |
In March of 1949, C. S. Lewis invited a friend named Roger Lancelyn Green to dinner at Magdalen College of Oxford University, where Lewis was a tutor. Green had attended Lewis's lectures a decade earlier, and their friendship had grown over the years. It must have been especially refreshing for Lewis to contemplate an evening of food, wine, and conversation, for his life was miserable at that moment.
He lived with his brother and an elderly woman named Mrs. Moore, whom he often referred to as his motherthough she was not. Both of them were unwell and dependent upon him. Just a few days before his dinner with Green, Lewis had written to an American friend that he was "tied to an invalid," which is what Mrs. Moore had become, confined to bed by arthritis and varicose veins. For her part, Mrs. Moore proclaimed that Lewis was "as good as an extra maid in the house," and she certainly used him as a maid. She seems also to have become obsessive and quarrelsome in her latter years, worried always about her dog and constantly at odds with the domestic help.
Lewis hired two maids to help with cleaning and nursing when he had to be at Magdalen, where he maintained a grueling schedule of lectures, tutorials, and correspondence. But for a time, one of the maids became mentally unstable, and he occasionally had to return home to sort out conflicts the women had with each other and with Mrs. Moore. In 1947, he had been asked by the Marquess of Salisbury to participate in meetings, along with the archbishops of Canterbury and York, to discuss the future of the Church of England (of which Lewis was a member). He had declined: "My mother is old and infirm and I never know when I can, even for a day, get away from my duties as a nurse and a domestic servant. (There are psychological as well as material difficulties in my house.)"
A GOOD READ -- CLICK HERE FOR THE REST
thank you so much for this gift of a close view of C.S.Lewis!
Read the Screwtape Letters as a teen, read the Great Divorce first when I was about 17, then as I was in the midst of my Christian conversion in my 30s, read Out of the Silent Planet, I believe it was, for a SF class, read parts of Mere Christianity in my twenties. Somewhere along the way, I read the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I just couldn't get into the Narnia books. Wrong time in my life, perhaps.
But I really liked the Great Divorce - reread it not long ago. I need to reread the Screwtape letters with my older eye.
I recently read "The Great Divorce" for the first time. Very interesting, although not exactly Catholic :-). "The Screwtape Letters" is always terrific - I've got it on the shelf and read it at least once a year.
I first read the Narnia books in 6th grade. They are, to state the obvious, children's books! If you enjoy other books intended for 8-12 year-olds, you might enjoy those on another try.
From a Christian standpoint (as opposed to simply being good stories if you like that type of thing :-), their great strength is in bringing a sense of immediacy to great truths such as creation, redemption, and heaven. Plenty of other literature can have this effect as well, of course. The impact depends on the reader and his mood and stage in life, as well as the text.
I am actually a pretty big fan of that type of lit...I still read some of it from time to time (don't you dare try to take my copy of the Wind in the Willows or the Water-Babies away from me!
I will try it again one day.
Speaking of religious related stories in a Catholic vein, I have two favorites: Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien and the story of the Little Jugglar of Notre Dame, which always gives me hope when I feel like I am not worth a lot and just spinning my wheels...
I need to revisit C.S. Lewis too. Read (and liked!) the whole Narnia series as a boy, read the "SF trilogy" as a teen ("That Hideous Strength" was chilling -- decades before my personal exposure to "committees"), anbd the rest came later.
It took a couple readings and many years before I was old enough to fully comprehend "The Great Divorce."
I do believe you are right about the Great Divorce...You gain more from it when you've been confronted with experience and griefs and hard choices, I believe.