Friday, March 02, 2012

"A Lewis Kick"

If I don't blog some of these thoughts poor Nathan will go insane as he endures my "Lewis kick." As in C.S. Lewis. Nathan says, "He's OK." OK?! That's like saying "Tolkien's passable" or "Shakespeare's not bad." Sigh.

OK, so this Christmas vacation, I decided I would enhance my brain cells with some classic literature. I had picked up Perelandra at a thrift store, where it had lived dust-ridden on a back bookshelf for much too long. So I started there, went backwards to Out of the Silent Planet and then forwards to That Hideous Strength. Thus, I finished the Space Trilogy. Thus, I fell in love again with that Christian intellectual (note: I did not say theologian, because he says: "You ask me why I've never written anything about the Holy Communion. For the very simple reason that I am not good enough at Theology. I have nothing to offer." He then goes on to "prattle unseasonably" about that very topic- haha!

Lewis' crazy side drives Nathan nuts. And he has a crazy side. Until you've read his discussion on which animals have souls or his views on hell, you haven't seen the whole picture. That being said, he was a genius of a thinker, and just reading his writing gives me great thoughts. I can just feel my brain growing and tiny bits of the aforementioned (last blogpost) mommy fuzz flaking off. I read the Space Trilogy, then a book of compiled Lewis quotes (The Quotable Lewis by Martindale- lovely!), and since my favorite quotes came from God in the Dock, I'm now reading GITD.

Here's one of my favorite quotes:
"The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that. The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him. I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right the readers will most certainly go into it. . . ."
Although he was referring to writing, I think communication in general can be full of open gates. It's a dangerous world out there ;o)

A quick review of the Space Trilogy:
1. Out of the Silent Planet - main character Ransom captured and taken to Mars (Malacandra), escapes, lives with lovely Malacandrians, saves them from the evil guy from captured him, comes home. I would say mostly science fiction. Not as heavily allegorical as some of his others. The "silent planet" is Earth, and Ransom has come "Out of the Silent Planet."
2. Perelandra - The Eldils' (super-angels?) word for the planet Venus. Ransom is sent there to affect the beginning of Venus. Evil doctor gets there under his own steam. First part of book describes floating islands until the point where I promise you your sofa will begin swaying. Pages and pages (did we mention 'prattling unseasonably?'). Then begins a long allegory of Adam and Eve's choice in the garden. The evil doctor becomes demonically possessed, and spends the rest of the book chasing Ransom all over the world trying to kill him. He eventually falls into a lava pit, and Ransom is saved. Back to Earth he goes.
3. That Hideous Strength - Longer and stranger yet. I only finished this one because I was feeling stubborn ;o) Weird, weird, weird. Full of social critique of Lewis' times. The book starts off sounding like nonfiction, and gradually turns into a rather macabre nightmare. Merlin is resurrected (as in the magician Merlin) to save the day. And by the way, he was the last of the Numenoreans (think Tolkien's Aragorn)- so I assume he and Tolkien were collaborating a bit at this point. Also full of the allegories that Lewis LOVES. This book is not for the faint of heart!

Voila! Just in case you were looking for a review of the Space Trilogy today... ;o)


Kimberly said...

i have not read those books, although i've kept meaning to...i'm not sure i'm more motivated to read them or not after reading your review!!:):) food for thought about communication...

you did a good job with identifying the "joy" of simple tasks in that last post...i've not thought of it quite that way own Mother did a good job of modeling that...

Charity said...

Haha- the reason the review comes across mixed is b/c my feelings are mixed. I would read 50 pages and be thinking, "WHY am I reading this weird stuff?". Then suddenly, Lewis would be utterly brilliant and I'd feel the ground of my thinking moving under me, and I was saying, "Oh, that was so worth the 50 pages." ;o)