This year is certainly turning into a season of unexpected interruptions! I had planned to take the month of March to do a great purge in my house, trying to make everything go a bit more smoothly with less stuff for my kids to leave lying around – or for me to have to dig through in the cabinets. Well, I got most of the kitchen cleaned out before the Covid-19 insanity hit. I live in Washington State, so we were some of the first to have kids home from school and spouses stay home from work. I’m just thankful we’ve done homeschooling and the two of my kids who go to school were only there part time, so the transition wasn’t nearly as disruptive as it was for many people – though it’s been disruptive enough! My oldest really misses the peace and quiet of being home alone.
So instead of purging we spent the month adjusting. I have gotten back into studying Lewis – I’m just doing a re-read of Perelandra now to get back in the swing of things, so I may not have much to say for a bit.
One interesting thing I came across is in the Preface to Perelandra. At the end, Lewis says, ‘All the human characters in this book are purely fictitious and none of them is allegorical.’ The fact that he specified that the HUMAN characters are not allegorical seems to imply that non-human characters might be. This connects beautifully to the post on Allegory and Symbolism, where I argue that Mars and Venus are closer to allegory than symbolism in Perelandra. So now I’m contemplating writing an article focusing on the idea that Malacandra and Perelandra are symbolic of not only Mars and Venus (the obvious parallel), but that they also serve as an allegory for masculinity and femininity. Those places where their characteristics – both the halo ‘colours’ and the characteristics implied by their posture – show up demonstrate the characteristics Lewis attributed to masculinity and femininity. It would be a lot of work, but I do think that it would serve to focus my thinking on the subject.
It also might be more publishable, as the focus would shift from the politically/emotionally/culturally charged concept of masculinity and femininity to the more academic concept of allegory – though the ideas on masculinity and femininity would be included. At least they wouldn’t have center stage.
The other option would be for me to skip the idea of publishing articles altogether and try to finish the research I need to do for a book. I’ve pretty much given up the hope that I’ll find mentors or colleagues to interact with regularly. The advantage of going straight for a book is the possibility of laying out the whole big picture at once. This makes sense to me because the smaller ideas looked at individually may not be nearly as convincing as when you can look at the big picture. I know I’ve asked some scholars questions that they probably thought made no sense because they didn’t have the whole picture to see where that bit of information fit. If I couldn’t get a book published, I could always go back and try to publish articles after writing the bulk of a book.
Please feel free to comment or email if you have an opinion on which option might be more worth my time. Stay Well!