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Quotes from CS Lewis biography

Quotes from CS Lewis biography



page 72
"Congratulations old man. I am delighted that you have had the moral courage to form your own opinions [independently,] in defiance of the old taboos." to best friend Greeve's confession of being homosexual.

page 150
For Tolkien, a myth is a story that conveys "fundamental things" -- in other words, that tries to tell us about the deeper structure of things. The best myths, he argues, are not deliberately constructed falsehoods, but are rather tales woven by people to capture the echoes of deeper truths. Myths offer a fragment of that truth, not its totality. They are like splintered fragments of the true light. Yet when the full and true story is told, it is able to bring to fulfillment all that was right and wise in those fragmentary visions of things. For Tolkien, grasping Christianity's meaningfulness took precedence over its truth. It provided the total picture, unifying and transcending those fragmentary and imperfect insights.

It is not difficult to see how Tolkien's way of thinking brought clarity and coherence to the jumble of thoughts that so excited Lewis's mind at this time. For Tolkien, a myth awakens in its readers a longing for something that lies beyond their grasp. Myths possess an innate capacity to expand the consciousness of their readers, allowing them to transcend through unfocused gleam of divine thought falling on human imagination. At their best, mythos offer what Lewis later termed "a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination." Christianity, rather than being one myth alongside many others, is thus the fulfillment of all previous mythological religions. Christianity tells a true story about humanity, which makes sense of all the stories that humanity tells about itself.

page 190
For Lewis, poetry works not by directing attention to the poet, but to what the poet sees: "The poet is not a man who asks me to look at him; he is a man who says "look at that" and points." The poet is thus not a "spectacle" to be viewed, but a "set of spectacles" through which things are to be seen.

page 220
[Mere Christianity is] like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not him the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in.

page 251
It was the Christians who constructed the arena and issued the challenge… We never claimed to be impartial. But argument is. It has a life of its own. No man can tell where it will go. We expose ourselves, and the weakest of our party, to your fire no less than you are exposed to ours.

page 299
LW&W - Jupiter
PC - Mars
VotDT - the Sun
SC - the Moon
H&HB - Mercury
M'sN - Venus
LB - Saturn

For example, Ward argues that Prince Caspian shows the thematic influence of Mars. This is seen primarily at two levels. First, Mars was the ancient god of war (Mars Gradivus). This immediately connects to the dominance of military language, imagery, and issues in this novel… Yet in an earlier phase of the classical tradition, Mars was also a vegetation deity (Mars Silvanus), associate with burgeoning trees, woods, and forests. The northern spring month of March, during which vegetation comes back to life after winter, was named after this deity. Many readers of Prince Caspian have noted its emphasis on vegetation and trees.

page 311
The advertisement appeared on 31 March 1954, with a closing date for applications of 24 April. On 10 May, Bennett joined seven other senior academics to elect Cambridge's first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English in a meeting chaired by the vice-chancellor …. …Lewis, however, had not applied for the position. The committee chose to overlook this inconvenient formality. They enthusiastically and unanimously decided to offer the job to Lewis…

page 360
a seed patiently waiting in the earth: waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener's good time, up into the real word, the real waking. (a better epitaph than the one Warnie chose for his brother)

page 376
"Lewis as a literary landmark" - among the authors mentioned were Lewis Carroll, Neil Gaiman, L'Engle, Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, Pullman, Rowling, and Tolkien :)

I have one more page marked (276/277) - but can't figure out what line I wanted to save! I think it's about how the use of animals in Narnia was partly protesting humanity's right to do what it pleases with nature/responses to vivisectionists which were very popular during that time. But also the next page about escapism verses "double seeing" and the line "I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." We can look at the sun itself; or we can look instead at what it illuminates - thus enlarging our intellectual, moral, and aesthetic vision. We see the true, the good, and the beautiful more clearly by being given a lens that brings them into focus. They are not invented by our reading of Narnia, but they are discerned, lit up, and brought into sharper focus. And more than that, we see more, and we see father, by looking through the right lens.

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