[DWJ] Re: The Last Battle

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jun 21 18:04:16 EDT 2006

The Knowledge Pika wrote:

>When you read another of his books (the one about love, I think), it
>becomes clear that Susan is becoming exactly the sort of woman he didn't
>like... and that he expected women to be like.

He certainly didn't seem to think much of Tolkien's wife: was she like
that, I wonder?  (JRRT's letters are almost without mention of her once
they stop being *to* her, at least the ones selected by Carpenter are.)

>I'm thinking there's something in Elizabeth Goudge about some parson or
>other claiming to dislike, or be afraid of, women, by which he means
>well dressed, well fed women who weren't in any spiritual distress. It's
>a sympathetic portrait of the all male academic society type's
>narrowness of experience.

It's a funny thing, that Lewis managed to get through his time at Oxford
without ever apparently encountering some of the really rather fine and
splendid wives of the married dons.  (I'm speaking from bias here because
my grandmother was one of them, and seems to have been much beloved by all
who knew her, but perhaps her huge brood of brats scared him off.  Given
that he was a great walker, he'd have been a candidate for inclusion in the
long and exciting Family Walks if he hadn't been standoffish, but I suspect
that my grandfather wasn't interested enough in University Politicking to
be a friend of Lewis's.)  Perhaps Lewis thought that the wives might
disapprove of his own domestic arrangements -- as far as I have been able
to make out, they didn't at all, they just felt very sorry for him being
lumbered with looking after a woman they didn't think much of, but maybe he
was afraid they'd say something he wouldn't like and so he just evaded the
issue by avoiding them.

Lewis had that strange, faintly abusive as in he was abused by her,
relationship with the mother of his best-friend-from-the-trenches or
whatever she was, whom he'd promised the friend he'd look after if the
friend died.  She by the sound of her was enough to put a chap off women

So I suppose one ought not to be too surprised if he wasn't very feminist
in his outlook.  The surprise really is that he was able to encounter Joy
wossername and respect her for her mind.


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