CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

ROSLYN rosgross at bigpond.net.au
Sun Dec 12 00:34:59 EST 2004


Katie wrote:

> I have a kind of strange relationship with all the CS Lewis books, because 
> I read them when I was too young to realize the references to Christianity 
> were there (especially because I didn't know much about Christianity).  So 
> I really enjoyed and loved Narnia as well as the trilogy.  Actually, I was 
> kind of obsessed- they were my first fantasy books, and there was a time 
> when I read a Narnia book every day for almost a year.  That was in third 
> grade, when I was very lonely and sad.  Now, I can hardly read any of the 
> CS Lewis books without getting seriously annoyed by the Christianity, but 
> I also can't help loving them when I look at them the way I used to.  I 
> never really liked The Screwtape Letters.

In many ways my relationship with them is similar to yours, Katie. When I 
first read the _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_ (around the age of 11 
or 12) I didn't specifically know about the Christian subtext either (though 
I did sense there was preaching going) and when I did learn over the 
following years about it, when I read the other Narnian books, it made me 
feel uncomfortable, though on another level it didn't interfere with my love 
of the books. The allure of the Narnian books, I think, may lie in the fact 
that the images and emotions of the books do hold a strong imaginative power 
in their own right. Like you, I re-read them constantly, in my case in my 
teens and into my twenties--not every day, but the whole series over a year 
or so--and they provided a kind of emotional comfort despite the strong 
beliefs I knew I didn't necessarily agree with. I haven't re-read them for 
many years now, but when I look at them or think of them (or watch theBBC 
series), they feel to me like old friends I disagree with, and like you, I 
can sort of re-create the way they made me feel back then.

I enjoyed _Out of the Silent Planet_  but it never captured my imagination 
the way the Narnian books did. I can't even remember if I read the second 
(see, I can't even remember its name) and I never finished the final one--I 
found it far too preachy and felt that its religious agenda overpowered the 
story. I've never read _The Screwtape Letters_ but even reading bits of it 
quoted in other places really rub me the wrong way.

Ros 

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