Day Two {Male Author}

Looking over Lerowen's list of subjects (that sounds rather royal, doesn't it?) I think today's topic may prove to be the hardest for me. It's another matter of picking out a favourite, and I always supposed that you must have a very few favourites, or else the word "favourite" doesn't mean much anymore. All the same, it is hard.

By way of brief introduction, Lerowen on Eat...Sleep...Write has put up a writers' challenge for the first two weeks of August (I love the word "august"). Fifteen topics are given, to be written about on their corresponding days. Feel free to jump in, and have fun!

day two: your favourite male author

I know it is going to sound terribly cliche and of-the-band-wagonny, but it's the truth. The award of My Favourite Male Author has to go to none other than Mr. C.S. Lewis. It really was a difficult choice; a lot of the authors I read are male, and as I have no patience with books that I don't enjoy, invariably I end up with a list of authors (males included) which I happen to like. It got down to the wire and became a wretched struggle between Lewis and Tolkien, because the two (you may notice) were such good friends and so influenced each other's works that while I was reading Roverandom I was thinking to myself how the author put the same sort of things in his Space Trilogy...before recollecting that two separate men wrote those works.

"Sehnsucht is that unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of a bonefire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World's End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves."

So, it's C.S. Lewis. I must admit right off that I don't agree with everything Lewis had to say and do and write: he wasn't infallible, but that's his affair. By and large he resonates with me, and he has a way (he, though dead, yet speaks) of pointing out the so totally obvious in such a sublime and beautiful way that you wonder why you had never seen it so before. He could see, in a human's dim but hopeful way, the thing that Plato talked about, the Sublime behind the Base, the Real Thing; as the song points out, the shadow proves the sunshine, and shadow things meant light to him. To him, everything is lingering on the edge of morning, the birds are chirping hesitantly, there is a tell-tale creep of primrose on our nursery-room wall. Any minute now the sun is going to rise. We all anticipate the end of the world and the beginning of all things new, the putting of all things to right, but Lewis caught the ecstasy of it, the uncertain but hopeful twittering of the birds - and he can always transfer that magic to me when I read him.

"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and your mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadow-Lands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."

And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us, this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had been only the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

what I have read

The Chronicles of Narnia (7)
The Space Trilogy (3)
The Great Divorce
The Screwtape Letters (and Screwtape Proposes a Toast)
The Weight of Glory (and Other Essays)
The World's Last Night (and Other Essays)
Til We Have Faces
An Experiment in Criticism
The Abolition of Man
Reflections on the Psalms

10 ripostes:

  1. Yeah, C.S. Lewis is a definite favorite with me too. But I haven't read as much of his works as you have! Now I'm inspired to go read more. Which, would you say, was your favorite of his nonfiction works? I've read Narnia, the Space Trilogy, and Til We Have Faces, and Screwtape Letters, and I'm eager to read some of his philosophical works.

  2. C.S.Lewis is an amazing writer. That paragraph from 'The Last Battle' is one of my favorites!

  3. :-) Well written, as always.

    I suppose this isn't much to topic, but where are you getting your letter graphics?
    (The technical term escapes me at the moment. I apologize.)

    P.S. Someone got up too late this morning, then puttered and missed the post. So your letter will be late indeed.

  4. Oh, that's a difficult question, Liz. As far as my favourite fictions of his, it's probably a mad scramble between The Great Divorce and Perelandra. Probably. They all jostle so close to the front, sometimes it's hard to tell which is foremost. I think I have to say that, of his non-fiction works which I have read, my favourite is his essay "The Weight of Glory." We're unusually shy about what sort of creatures we will be when we are revealed with Christ. We have an odd aversion to thinking about the splendid creature we will be then, how perfected in holiness, confirmed in righteousness, how we will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father. We're so very shy about these topics, as if we think we are stealing glory from God. Lewis addresses this notion in his essay.

    Grazie, Sarah! I'm afraid my letter graphics (there's a technical term?) are made by myself. Pfft, cat out of the bag. You had to go ask. Now I'm done for.

  5. you know everyone will be asking you for said graphics, Jenny. Never let on that you're good at anything. (I guess, since you have a blog, it's a bit late for that.)

    I'm terribly fond of 'Til We Have Faces, too. It blossoms in a way much the same (I tried to say 'much the similar,' but it didn't work) as Chesterton's 'Thursday,' with a terrible sort of beauty (and an indefinite ending, to boot) - only Syme is much more endearing a hero than Orual a heroine.

    Funnily enough, it has been a while since I put my nose into a nonfiction-Lewis. I really ought to remedy that. I love both the collections of Essays that Jenny listed; 'The Four Loves' is hands-down my favorite, however. If you don't read anything else of Lewis's prose, you /must/ read that. (That goes back to Plato, too, oddly enough. o.O)

  6. *Clamors*


    Naw, I was just telling Dad I'm thinking to take a graphic design course this fall and get certified. We'll be living closer to the college and back in my boss's district, meaning she can help me get scholarships. :-)

    Another off-topic comment. I'm not used to this...

  7. Ye-es... This is a blog, not a forum. :P

    Anna, I agree on your comments about Syme and Orual. Both stories left me rising in a sort of frantic ecstasy out of my chair and going off on a melodious "A-a-a-a-a-a-ah!" as the wave of the stories' endings crashed over me. And then I was left spluttering and wet in a panic, since I'd forgot where my towel was. Hmph.

    I've got a passable number of Lewis' nonfiction works on my shelf that I haven't read yet - The Four Loves is among them. I should get to it pretty soon.

  8. ... in which every chapter is better than the one before.

    Bah humbug, you would reduce me to blubbering this late at night, you would. :P The ending paragraph of TLB is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read; certainly the most glorious of endings. C.S. Lewis was quite a wonderful man.

  9. Reduction to blubbering, regarding this Sort of Thing, happens at any hour, around any bend, and just when you least expect it. But I think we like it that way.

  10. Well, you're welcome to come be off-topic in my comments, if ever you get time to breathe.

    (Did I tell you I'm doing this, too?)