Yes, I missed a week. I’ve had a nasty annoying cold and been forced to take up napping to banish it, which has consumed the time normally devoted to blogging. Children must be fed, colds or no, so blogging had to go.
The obvious next step in my research would be to look at the Ransom Trilogy and see how the ideas in the novels compare with what I see in the eldila scene in Perelandra. I’ve already re-read the series with these ideas in mind, and thought about how they relate to many of his other novels as well (like Susan and Lucy in The Last Battle, or Jadis in The Magician’s Nephew, and even both sisters in Till We Have Faces). But there are two reasons I think I’m going to have to put that off a bit.
The first is that I would really, really like some feedback on what I’ve written so far, especially from people who know Lewis well. I mean, I see it all so clearly, and it makes perfect sense to me. But I’m not the most knowledgeable of Lewis scholars. I’ve been in contact with a few published Lewis scholars, all of whom were very encouraging initially. However, I haven’t had any specific feedback on what I’m writing since I started the blog. I really feel like I need some of this kind of feedback on the lens of the eldila’s stances before I apply that lens to the trilogy as a whole. So I need to pursue that a bit more.
And that brings me to the second reason. I said I’m not the most knowledgeable Lewis scholar. I’ve read all his novels (I think. Though if I’ve read The Pilgrim’s Regress it’s been a very long time and I need to re-read), but not even most of his much-more-plentiful non-fiction – books, essays, letters. I’d also like to read some of the classics that were foundational to him but which I’ve somehow only encountered in excerpts – Milton, Dante, Le Morte de Arthur (speaking of which, I downloaded an audiobook and can I just say that Derek Jacobi is the best reader ever?). I’m thankful to have been a fan of George Herbert for a long time, and for reading a few classics like the Iliad and the Odyssey. It makes me feel a tad, but only a tad, less overwhelmed. I have a feeling that my ability to look more closely at the texts of the novels would be greatly enhanced by a more thorough reading program. For instance, I only recently learned that Lewis started Out of the Silent Planet as the result of a wager between he and Tolkien. Lewis had to write a space travel novel and Tolkien was to write one on time travel. Tolkien never published his, alas. That bet would probably explain why Ransom was a philologist . . . though Tolkien never enjoyed walking tours. Maybe Jack was making him take one in a novel – it would definitely fit his sense of humor. Or humour, rather. “Tollers” on a walking tour! Ha!
So I suppose I’ll be writing posts about the other stuff I’m reading as I prepare to dig into my specific interests more closely. I imagine whether or not my posts are related to gender will depend on what I come across in my reading. I’m able to listen to books much more quickly than to read them (as I can cook and wash dishes and do laundry while listening. I have been known to do all those while reading, too, but only when, oh, what did he call it, the “narrative lust” is on me!), but you can’t exactly mark the page when you’re listening, so it’s likely to be a slow process.
I don’t think I’ve actually said this elsewhere, so I’ll say it here. My main purpose in writing a blog is to get some feedback. When you have such specific interests, and you’re not in a university setting, it can be very difficult to find people to connect with and talk about these ideas. So please, please, please, feel free to comment, or to contact me. I’d like to know if I’m assuming too much, even for someone who is familiar with Lewis, or if I’ve made too big a rhetorical leap or just missed something. I’ve been listening to Bandersnatch by Diana Glyer, thinking it would be helpful as I’m looking for collaborators, as she calls them, to assist me and whom I might in turn assist. It’s quite clear that some of the Inklings’ works would not exist without the group – and many more would not be nearly as good. She quotes Charles Williams, himself an Inkling, “Much was possible to a man in solitude, but some things were possible only to a man in companionship, and of these the most important was balance. No mind was so good that it did not need another mind to counter and equal it and to save it from conceit and blindness and bigotry and folly.” Not to mention, it’s just much more fun to do this kind of work if you have someone to “talk” to about it. I haven’t pursued any of this kind of work for the past 15 years specifically because I didn’t have anyone with whom to share it! So, if you’re reading this and it interests you, talk to me about it. And if you know someone else who might be interested, share it! Thanks for reading!
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