CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Dec 14 19:02:49 EST 2004


The Knowledge Pika wrote:

>There are some excellent bits in there, too. Like "The Bolt of Tash
>Falls From Above!" And Bree's issues with snobbery. :)

Oh.  Bree and snobbery.

There's a lovely bit in a letter to his father in 1927 in which Lewis says
of the retiring President of his college

"He had the ludicrous without the odious side of snobbery.  He may have
reverenced a Prince or a Duke too much, but never in his life did he
despise or snub a poor scholar from a Grammar School.  When snobbery
consists /only/ of the admiring look upward and /not/ of the contemptuous
look downward, one need not be hard on it.  A laugh -- no unfriendly laugh
-- is the worst that it deserves."

I think Lewis is showing Bree being forced to move from the one attitude to
the other, in many ways.  As it were, from despising Calormen and the poor
and the untaught (look at the way he talks to Shasta at the beginning),
round to only admiring the best of Narnia without looking at it in relation
to the worst of Calormen.

At that point, I suppose, it almost stops being snobbishness at all.  If
admiring and wishing to emulate the best is snobbishness, then being a snob
would be an unadulterated good and admirable quality, and I don't think
that can be right.

Minnow


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