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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Reading Schedule for 2012

C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg Meets at the Harrisonburg Barnes and Noble the second Thursday of each month from about 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. See Schedule for 2012 below.

2012 Schedule
January 12: "Lewis Agonistes" by Louis Markos
February 9: "The Tolkien Reader" by J.R.R. Tolkien
March 8: "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis
April 12: "Perelandra" by C.S. Lewis
May 10: "That Hideous Strength" by C.S. Lewis
June 14: "The Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis
July 12: "Descent into Hell" by Charles Williams
August 9: "George MacDonald: An Anthology" edited by C.S. Lewis
September 13: A Father Brown Story by G.K. Chesterton to be announced
October 11: "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis
November 8: "The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy" edited by Gregory Bassham and Jerry L. Walls
December 13: PARTY and Plotting the New Year
January 10, 2013: "Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley" by Peter Kreeft

Friday, November 25, 2011

Party December 8th "Lewis Agonistes" Postponed Until January

The regular December meeting of the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg would be on December 8th but the Barnes and Noble is having a Book Fair which always makes for a terrible meeting so at the November meeting we made two decisions: 1) We postponed Jane's leadership of "Lewis Agonistes" by Louis Markos to the January meeting on Thursday January 12th ..., and 2) declared a party at the Schneider's for the December 8th meeting.
PARTY AT THE SCHNEIDER'S 7:00 p.m. to 9ish or so on Thursday December 8th
Bring a Snack or Dessert to share.  If you want to drink something adult
BYOB ... I might offer a taste of Plum Wine for the adventurous.
Otherwise it's going to be water or lemonade.
ACTIVITY: Boisterous conversation and discussion of what we'll be reading and doing in 2012 beyond January.
PLEASE RSVP to or (540) 434-8284
For those who have not been here before, the location is:
77 Middlebrook St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

It's a green house with a big 77 on it that is the 4th on the left.
Middlebrook St.  is the last street off Central Ave. before you hit Pleasant Hill ... if that doesn't make sense Mapquest can find it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

November 10th is G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday

For next time we'll be talking about what to do next year.  If you want to make suggestions just  Click Here to Take a Survey
Here's the link for the Lewis Non-Fiction Survey Click here for Non-Fiction
I only have two copies of G.K. Chesterton's work The Man Who Was Thursday lying around the house.  One is Martin Gardner's Annotated Thursday and the other is in one of the volumes of the collected works of G.K. Chesterton published by Ignatius Press which I keep hoping to read through when I find several thousand hours of spare time.  G. K. Chesterton wrote that much, and everything he wrote is great.

C. S. Lewis was profoundly influenced by Chesterton and gives him the very highest praise in Surprised by Joy when he says "Chesterton had more sense than all the other moderns put together ..." and later he says in the same work:

Then I read Chesterton's The Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense.  You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive "apart from his Christianity."  Now, I veritably believe, I thought — I didn't of course say; words would have revealed the nonsense — that Christianity itself was very sensible "apart from its Christianity."

The Man Who Was Thursday is original as only Chesterton can be.  It is at once a mystery story and a story about infinitely more.  Join us at the Harrisonburg Barnes and Noble on 7:30 p.m. on Thursday November 10th when Christabel will introduce us to Chesterton, a hero of C.S. Lewis's and a master of the craft of writing.  CHECK IT OUT at Barnes and Noble.  See you in November!

Questions: (discussion questions for the November 10th meeting)

  1. The subtitle to this work is “A Nightmare.”  Chesterton indicated that this subtitle was largely overlooked, yet was a profession of what the book is or was intended to be (see attachment).  Do you find this illuminating?  Do you agree with Chesterton’s characterization?
  1. Names are often important clues, especially in allegorical stories.  How do you think the characters’ names add to or reveal things about the characters?  For example, Rosamund could be seen as Rosa Mundi, a title meaning “Rose of the world” and used to refer to Christ.
  1. Gabriel Syme, the ostensible protagonist, expressly defends order against chaos and represents governmental authority.  Yet, while these concepts are often associated with conformity, the ending seems to celebrate individuality.  Is individuality a threat to order?  Is Sunday a threat to governmental authority?
  1. Is there an antagonist in this story?  Is there a representation of evil?  Is Lucian Gregory bad?  Incorrect?  A threat?
  1. What is the purpose of the love interest set up with Rosamund?  This is a well-plotted book; it is safe to assume Chesterton had a reason to include it.
  1. Every major character in this work initially hides who or what he truly is, and is eventually revealed.  Why is that?  What does it contribute to the overall story?  Does it matter if the revelation is voluntary or involuntary?
  1. Each of the secret policemen has a particular perspective; for instance, Dr. Bull adheres firmly to scientific reasoning when approaching the world.  Some readers have called these perspectives aspects of the divine.  Other readers have called them ways to know or find the divine.  Why do you think Chesterton chose these perspectives and what do they add to the story?  Are there better choices? 
  1. This book was published in 1908.  Anarchy was, arguably, the terrorism of that time, at least in the public perception.  Replace the word “anarchist” with “terrorist” in this work.  Does this change how you read the story? 
  1. This work portrays faith as an active quality and its possessors as men of action, rather than portraying them as men who endure faithfully and wait for divine intervention.  In fact, the six conspirators seem to be chosen and exalted by reason of being men of faith and action.  Is this an exhortation?  Is there a moral imperative to act on one’s faith? 
  1. What does the pursuit of Sunday and the delayed revelation of his true nature add that immediate revelation and explication would not?  Why is this important?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

October 13th is Lewis's The Discarded Image

C.S. Lewis wrote many books in many genres. The Discarded Image was his last book and one of his finest. It was derived from his many lectures on Medieval and Renaissance Literature which he taught at Oxford and Cambridge his entire scholarly life. (Click on the image to go to Barnes and Noble's on-line store.)

Our host for the October meeting will be Dr. Iain Maclean, a graduate of the Universities of Cape Town, Rhodes, South Africa, Princeton and Harvard. Dr. Maclean is Associate Professor of Western Religious Thought at James Madison University.

The meetings are on the second Thursday of each month at the Barnes and Noble in Harrisonburg. The meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and some members enjoy a coffee and pastry at the Barnes and Noble Starbucks and early birds often stop for dinner at Panera's shortly after six o'clock before walking across the parking lot to the Barnes and Noble.

The schedule for the rest of the year will be two books that are not by Lewis but by influences on Lewis, November 10th The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, and about Lewis, December 8th, Lewis Agonistes by Louis Markos, subtitled: How C.S. Lewis can train us to wrestle with the modern and postmodern world. At these meetings we'll be considering the schedule for next year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

C.S. Lewis Retreat October 27-30 at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas

SEE HERE Come to beautiful Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas, to hear plenary speaker Dr. Bruce L. Edwards as he joins other Lewisians in celebrating the 80th anniversary of Lewis’s conversion to Christianity in September 1931.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

September 8th Our Book Is: Are Women Human by Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Sayers is an honorary Inkling in C.S. Lewis circles. She met Lewis when they were both working with the BBC during World War II. Lewis engaged in an active correspondence with Sayers but I don't think she ever got up to Oxford for an Inklings meeting.

Christabel will be our discussion leader on September 8th when we meet at our usual time, 7:30 P.M., at the Barnes and Noble in Harrisonburg.

REVIEW AT BN.COM This book collects two essay by Sayers that address the proper roles and men and women in society. Sayers was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford which when Lewis began teaching was exclusively male. Come and join us as we discuss Sayers and the Inklings.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 30th Annual Chesterton Conference

Jessica and I and another couple from the D.C. Chesterton Society were at the Chesterton Conference in St. Louis this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We drove out to St. Louis with an overnight stop in Louisville, Kentucky which helped make the journey manageable by car. It would have been a pretty long drive in one day although coming back we did a drive that would have been about as long.

Hanging out with Chestertonians is always great fun. We saw only a little of the Thursday night program because we went to dinner with friends we knew in the area, but got back to the Conference in time to hear the end of the talk about "Lepanto" by Christopher Check. I enjoyed the talk so I picked up a 3 CD set by Check to listen to. We made everything on the Friday agenda except the performance of Chesterton's play "Magic" which we had seen in Washington with the D.C. Chesterton Society which generally meets on the first Saturday of each month at Famous Dave's in Sterling, VA. SEE HERE

Some of the highlights for Friday were Robert Moore-Jumonville, a professor of Religion at Spring Arbor University and a columnist for Gilbert magazine. His talk had the somewhat bland title "Paying Attention: the Poetry of Prayer" but despite the title was one of the best talks of the session. I enjoyed all the talks but his most of all. Chuck Chalberg who does dramatizations of G. K. Chesterton despite being at least a head shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than Chesterton was also a highlight with a talk "The End of the Armistice" which addressed the rise of Nazism in Germany. Finally, the last talk we saw was by Leah Darrow, a relative of Clarence Darrow who Chesterton trounced in a debate, and who was a contestant on the reality show, "America's Next Top Model". She talked about the emptiness of modern culture and her own personal recovery of faith.

We missed Saturday because we drove North to Apple Valley, Minnesota to picnic with old friends on Sunday and see what society had done to our old stomping grounds. It was almost unrecognizable. Sic transit gloria mundi!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

August 11th Meeting: Format Thoughts

I thought I'd break with tradition a little and give you all a heads up on the August 11th C.S. Lewis Society Meeting and make a few suggestions. The meeting book is "C.S. Lewis Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity, and the Church." The book has 67 entries, 55 essays and 12 letters. That would be a lot to read and discuss so I thought for this meeting we should have a slightly different format. Moreover the book is out of print (not sure why it is a wonderful resource) so if you can't get it but you have "God In the Dock", "Christian Reflections", "The World' Last Night", or "The Weight of Glory" you've got quite a subset of the essays presented here.

SHORT WORKS RESOURCE: < > is a great resource if you want to find a particular essay and don't have this volume of essays.

MY SUGGESTION: is to read a few of the shorter essays and maybe a couple of the longer ones and pick one or two favorites and prepare to talk a little about your favorites:
1) What your favorite was?
2) What you liked about it?
3) What you thought Lewis was trying to get at and if you thought it fit into his other work is some way?
4) What questions it raised in your mind? or What answers it gave you?

AT THE MEETING: I thought we'd go through the group asking each person to share on their one or two favorites.
COMMON READING: Perhaps you could each read at least the two essays: 1) Christianity and Culture (also in Christian Reflections), and 2) Religion without Dogma (also in "The Grand Miracle" and in "God In The Dock") then we'll have something we've all read we can share.

LIST OF ESSAYS AND LETTERS ORGANIZED BY LENGTH: below is the contents of the volume in length order (things shown as 0 pages begin and end on the same page (letters generally). (sorry the columns are not exactly lined up)

Essay# Title #pages pg#
57 The Conflict in Anglican Theology 0 413 L
60 A Village Experience 0 415 L
63 The Holy Name 0 420 L
58 Miracles 1 413 L
59 Mr. C.S. Lewis on Christianity 1 414 L
64 Mere Christians 1 420 L
65 Canonisation 1 421 L
66 Pittenger-Lewis and Version Vernacular 1 422 L
27 What Christmas Means to Me 2 216
36 Two Ways With the Self 2 297
39 Three Kinds of Men 2 315
44 Scraps 2 346
56 The Conditions for a Just War 2 411 L
61 Correspondence with an Anglican who Dislikes Hymns 2 415 L
67 Capital Punishment and Death Penalty 2 423 L
9 Must Our Image of God Go? 3 66
11 Evil and God 3 93
20 Work and Prayer 3 160
23 On Forgiveness 3 184
34 Why I am Not a Pacifist 3 281
35 Dangers of National Repentance 3 294
41 The Laws of Nature 3 329
53 Christian Reunion 3 395
62 The Church's Liturgy, Invocation and Invocation of Saints 3 417
5 What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ? 4 38
7 Is Theism Important? 4 54
15 Horrid Red Things' 4 127
18 Religion and Science 4 143
37 Meditation on the Third Commandment 4 299
45 After Priggery -- What? 4 348
47 The Trouble with "X" ... ' 4 357
51 A Slip of the Tongue 4 384
4 God In the Dock 5 33
17 Myth Becamse Fact 5 138
22 The Decline of Religion 5 179
30 The Efficacy of Prayer 5 237
43 The Sermon and the Lunch 5 341
46 Man or Rabbit? 5 352
52 We Have No 'Right to Happiness' 5 388
54 Priestesses in the Church 5 398
29 Religion and Rocetry 6 231
48 On Living in an Atomic AGe 6 361
50 Good Work and Good Works 6 378
55 On Church Music 6 403
1 The Grand Miracle 7 3
16 Religion: Reality or Substitute? 7 131
8 The Seeing Eye 8 58
14 Dogma and the Universe 9 118
25 Petitionary Prayer 9 197
42 Membership 9 332
24 The Pains of Animals 10 187
26 On Obstinacy in Belief 10 206
3 The Funeral of a Great Myth 11 22
12 The Weight of Glory 11 96
13 Miracles 11 107
49 Lilies That Fester 11 367
2 Is Theology Poetry 12 10
6 The World's Last Night 12 42
32 The Language of Religion 12 255
33 Transposition 12 267
38 On Ethics 12 303
40 Answers to Questions on Christianity 12 317
19 Christian Apologetics 13 147
28 The Psalms 13 218
31 Fern-seed and Elephants 13 242
21 Religion Without Dogma? 16 163
10 Christianity and Culture 22 71

Thursday, July 14, 2011

August 11th Essay Collection: Faith, Christianity and the Church

Our reading for the August meeting will be on the Essay Collection Faith, Christianity and the Church. This is a comprehensive essay collection of 67 essays which Lewis wrote on these themes. This collection, edited by Lesley Walmsley, is composed of the religious essays and letters from her definitive collection of 135 essays and letters titled Essay Collection & Other Short Pieces.

Neither volume appears to be in print currently however there are fairly inexpensive volumes of this available at second hand vendors and many of the essays can be found in other volumes of Lewis essays.

A useful resource when looking for where a Lewis essay might be found at a page I composed at the C.S. Lewis Wiki-Spaces site titled SHORT PIECES. A quick review shows that to get most of these essays you'd need at least five essay volumes and that you can't get them all without buying this volume. But if you want most you could have it if you have: 1) God In The Dock 2) Christian Reflections 3) Weight of Glory 4) The World's Last Night and 5) Present Concerns. And if you have all five of those volumes you'd still be missing some of the content here. So it's a good investment if you like having a one-stop reference for Lewis's essays on Faith, Christianity and the Church.

Since the amount of the material is so large I'd recommend that people coming to the meeting find a few favorites among the many essays in the volume or some of the volumes mentioned above and prepare to explain a little about what the essay says and why you liked it. Then if you can link it a little with another essay all the better.

The meetings are the second Thursday of each month at the Harrisonburg Barnes and Noble at 7:30 p.m. The group meets at the cluster of chairs in the back of the store at the right. Some members almost always show up at Panera's around 6:30 p.m. to eat dinner before the meeting and others grab coffee and a scone or other goodie at the Starbucks in the Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

July 14th is Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet is the first volume of what came to be known as C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. It was first published in 1938. Come out and join us at the Barnes and Noble in Harrisonburg on the second Thursday of each month. In July our meeting will be on the 14th at 7:30 p.m. Our discussion leader will be Peggy.

The story of Out of the Silent Planet represents a "supposal" as Lewis would call it. He was inspired by reading A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay. Of this novel Lewis said, "It showed me what other worlds were for." Suppose there was another world where the intelligent life had not fallen as man did in our world. The story challenges the reader on many levels. Read it and come join us in July.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 9th at Barnes and Noble for Studies In Words Our Book for June

Discussion Questions

Studies in Words

By C.S. Lewis

1. What was Lewis’s purpose in writing Studies in Words?

2. What is the dangerous sense of words, and what makes that sense so dangerous?

3. Why do you think Lewis chose the words he did for this book? If he were writing this book in 2011, would he have chosen the same words, or different words?

4. Lewis writes of the word ‘Simple,” that it is a word that has achieved ‘enormous popularity without acquiring a dangerous sense.’ Do you think this still holds true of the word ‘simple’ in today’s society?

5. According to the last chapter, language supposedly has two limitations: informing us about complex physical shapes and movements, and, unlike music or gesture, doing two things at once. Do you agree with this statement? Lewis also says in this chapter that the most important and effective use of language is emotional. Agree or disagree?

6. Lewis speaks of verbicide, which is the willful distortion of a word from its original meaning. What words can you think have fallen victim to verbicide? How far must a word be distorted to be considered verbicide?

7. Was there a particular chapter, section, or phrase, that you found particularly interesting?

8. What do you think is the purpose of a word?

Friday, May 13, 2011

June 9th is "Studies In Words"

At the Barnes and Noble in Harrisonburg, on June 9th at 7:30 p.m. the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg will be discussing C.S. Lewis's book Studies In Words.

As Lewis writes in the Preface, the book is based on lectures given at Cambridge and is focused on the lexical and historical meaning of words studied "... for the light they throw on ideas and sentiments."

Expect to find insights into what a variety of common words mean, have meant in the past and may mean in the future. Studies in Words was published in 1960.

Come and enjoy the company of other Lewisians who find insight and inspiration in the works of C.S. Lewis. Our discussion in June will be led by Jenny Fiero. To see the schedule for the coming months CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Will Vaus's New Book Available: Speaking Of Jack

Will Vaus on the subject of his new book:

Speaking of Jack: A C. S. Lewis Discussion Guide is now in print. My copies arrived last week and I started shipping signed copies to those who have ordered from me.

I really like the way the book came out. The cover is beautiful, thanks to the work of Winged Lion Press. It also feels great. This cover is different from my other books in that it has a matte finish and so has a velvety feel to it which I like very much. This is also one of my larger books, at 278 pages.

You can read a sample chapter of the book HERE.

Friday, April 15, 2011

May 12th Will Be: 'Till We Have Faces

In May the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg will be discussion C.S. Lewis's retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, "Till We Have Faces."

This book is one that Lewis thought his best effort and it is a myth retold. Lewis and Tolkien were both avidly interested in myth and stories which embodied truths we can express in no other way. Lewis once described myth as a story that moves you no matter how poorly it is told.

Myth resonated the strings of the soul. Come join us as Melissa leads our discussion of "Till We Have Faces."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The April 14th Meeting Questions

Questions for C.S. Lewis's "The Problem of Pain"

for The Meeting April 14, 2011 of the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg

by Elizabeth Fierro

1.In his preface Lewis says “the only purpose of this book is to solve the intellectual problem raised by suffering; for the far higher task of teaching fortitude and patience. Do you think he succeeds in either of these tasks? Which task do you consider more important?

2. In his introduction he says “Moralities… agree in prescribing a behavior, which their adherents fail to practice …and all men are conscious of guilt”. Is this an appropriate definition of guilt? How would you describe/define guilt? How is guilt described or defined in our culture today?

3. In the chapter on Divine Goodness Lewis describes a difference between “kindness” and “goodness”. How would you describe the difference between the two?

4. What happens when kindness is detached from love?

5. According to Lewis “Pure love demands the perfection of the beloved”. Is this something an atheist or agnostic could agree with?

6.If someone is focused on “kindness” only, what kind of heaven do they assume will be waiting for them? How might this be different from the heaven of the person who is looking for “goodness”?

7. Lewis expresses shame as “Something we don’t want the world to know”. It shows us ourselves in our true perspective. In our society the sense of shame has seems to have vanished. Is there anything that has taken its place?

8.What do you think of Lewis’ story of the fall? How does it meet with, or diverge from, the theory of evolution?

9. In Lewis’ view what is the difference between suicide and martyrdom.

10. Is perhaps the real puzzle for human beings not the fact of pain, but why some people transform it into something redemptive, and others transform it into something destructive? Is this something Lewis deals with?

11. If you had quote or question that really stood out for you, please bring it along to share.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

April 14th The Problem of Pain

On April 14th the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg will be discussing C.S. Lewis's book: "The Problem of Pain." The book was published in 1940, about a decade after Lewis had returned to Christianity. The book impressed the religious program director at the BBC enough to cause him to invite Lewis to do a series of radio talks. The series of radio talks later became the book "Mere Christianity."

Join us at the Barnes and Noble in Harrisonburg at 7:30 p.m. for a lively discussion of "The Problem of Pain" led by Elizabeth Fierro.

Meanwhile you might find THIS on "eucatastrophe" fascinating reading.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rescheduled for Tuesday March 8th: Pilgrim's Regress

Our meeting on Pilgrim's Regress has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 8th at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble. Below is a glossary of characters and some questions for the meeting.

Who’s Who & What’s What In The Pilgrim’s Regress

(shamelessly stolen from Will Vaus)

Ahriman: Persian, Prince of Evil.

Angular: a caricature of T.S. Eliot who was an Anglo-Catholic. Lewis is satirizing Eliot’s dry and Romantic approach to literature.

Archtype and Ectype: the original and the copy.

Behemoth & Leviathan: huge animals referred to in Job 3:8 and 40:15.

Benedict: Spinoza, contributed to 17th century rationalism.

Bernard: Bosanquet (1848-1923), British idealist.

Claptrap: self important, insincere and pretentious language.

Classical: a caricature of Irving Babbitt, and American scholar who vigorously opposed Romanticism and died in 1933.

Clopinel: Jean de Meung of the 13th century.

Dialectic of Desire: the pattern of pursuing the source of joy, being side-tracked, and then corrected.

“Dixit Insipiens,” means, “The fool hath said....” from the Vulgate, Psalm 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, “There is no God.”

Druery: Lovemaking

The Dwarfs: Fascists and Communists (Marxomanni). Mussolomini are Italian Fascits, Swastici are Nazis (Hitler had just been elected Chancellor of Germany when Lewis wrote this), and the Gangomanni are gangters.

Eschropolis: city of foul obscenity.

“Esse Is Percipi” means “To be is to be perceived.”

Evangelium eternum: the eternal gospel, pantheism.

Glugly: represents ugly and meaningless art. Lewis may have had the Dadaists of the 1920’s in mind.

The Grand Canyon: the great chasm between God and man created by the sin of Adam.

Mr. Halfways: represents the Romantic Poets. He is much like William Butler Yeats, whom Lewis had met and admired at one time. He also makes statements directly quoted from Keats.

Helot: a female serf in ancient Sparta.

Herbert: Spencer, coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.”

Humanist: an atheist who lives to oppose optimism, Romanticism, transcerdentalism and humanitarianism. He is a thinly disguised George Santayana.

Ignorantia: ignorance brought about by overemphasizing scientific/technological knowledge and suppressing classical education.

Immanuel: Kant (1724-1904)

Io Paean: a traditional Greek shout of triumph and praise.

Jehovah-Jireh: God will provide.

Karl: Marx

Landlord: God

“Let Grill be Grill” refers to a character in Lewis’ favorite allegory, Spenser’s “Faerie Queene.” Gryll had been turned into a hog, and when a knight released him from the spell, Gryll abused the Knight instead of thanking him.

Luxuria: one of the seven deadly sins; unchastity.

Mr. Mammon: wealth.

The Man: Christ.

Media Halfways: Media refers to the materials of artistic creation. Halfways indicates the insufficiency of the arts to finally satisfy John’s longing.

Medium Aevum: The Middle Ages.

Mother Kirk: Kirk is Scottish for “church.” Mother Kirk represents Christianity.

Nella Sua Voluntade: In His Will. This refers to “In His will is our peace , from “Paradise,” the third and last book of Dante’s Dvine Comedy.

Nomos: the Jewish Law, Vertue’s father.

Northerners: “the men of rigid systems whether skeptical or dogmatic, Aristocrats, Stoics, Pharisees,Rigorists, signed and sealed members of highly organised parties.

Pagans: non-Jews

Per-persecuted: extremely persecuted

Phally: a nickname for Phallus. Probably represents D. H. Larence.

Pictures: Mythology

“Quen Quaertis in Sepulchro? Non Est Hic.” is Luke 24:5-6 in the Latin Vulgate: “Whom do you seek in the sepulcher? He is not here.”

Romanticism: (as used in the title of Pilgrim’s Regress), an experience of intense longing or sweet desire, “the mere wanting is felt to be somehow a delight... this hunger is better than any other fullness; this poverty better than all other wealth.”

Rudolph: Steiner (1861-1925), the first leader of the occult German Theosophohic Association and later founder of the Anthoroposopical Society, which Lewis’ friend Owen Barfield embraced.

The Rules: Morality

Savage: a Nordic warrior much like Odin, god of war.

Mr. Sensible: common sense. He detests Reason, preferring common sense which seeks comfort instead of truth. He has a smattering of knowledge from many sources but does not fully understand any of the authors he has read, thus the many Latin, French and Greek quotes. Epicurus, who taught that the highest good is pleasure, was the founder of Mr. Sensible’s house. In the end we find that Mr. Sensible in that Mr. Sensible is very insensible, and in fact - invisible.

Serpens nisi serrpentem comederit: It is not a serpent if it doesn’t eat serpents.

Shepherds: Jews.

A shaw: a small wood.

Sigismund: the son of Mr. Enlightenment, represents Sigmund Freud.

Slikisteinsauga: Sleekstone Eyes; a sleekstone is a stone used to polish something else. This is an angelic guide.

Southerners: “boneless soulds whose doors stand open day and night to almost every visitant, but always with readiest welcome for those, whether Maenad or Mystagogue, who offer some sort of intoxication.”


(stolen from several sources including my own head)

1) Who does John represent? What does Puritania represent?

2) What are the brown girls and why are they brown?

3) What causes John to leave Puritania?

4) Who is the first person John meets upon leaving Puritania? How does he influence John?

5) What substitutes for joy does John accept along his way? What causes him to reject them ultimately?

6) According to Sigismund Enlightenment, what is all human aspiration reduced to?

7) Who defeats the Spirit of the Age? How?

8) What is the Grand Canyon? How can someone get across the canyon?

9) How does the Hermit assist John?

10) What do John and Vertue see about the world as the regress?

11) What do you think of the explanation of why hell exists?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

March 10th: Pilgrim's Regress

The book for March is Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress. It was written in an intense two week period in August 15-29 in 1932 while Lewis was vacationing at his friend Arthur Greeves' home. It was published in 1933 and tells in allegorical form, the story of C.S. Lewis's own conversion to Christianity. Come and join us for an interesting discussion of The Pilgrim's Regress only the second work of Lewis published.

The C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg meets every second Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Barnes and Noble. Our discussion leader for March will be Melissa.

The Book Schedule for 2011 is HERE

Monday, February 7, 2011

30th Annual G.K. Chesterton Conference In St. Louis

The 30th Annual G.K. Chesterton Conference will be held August 4-6, 2011, in
St. Louis, Missouri, at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet.

The theme of the conference is "Poet and Prophet"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A View of Walden Media's Contribution to the Narnia Films

SEE HERE Scroll down about a page to see an interview with Bob Beltz of Walden Media on the Hillsdale College Imprimis website.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Questions For The Silver Chair

Our Discussion Leader for The Silver Chair will be Jessica who offers the following QUESTIONS:
1) How would you phrase the major theme of this book?
2) Is there a minor theme? If so what is it?
3) Obviously Aslan is good. How is evil portrayed?
4) What do you think of Puddleglum?
5) Can anyone tell us about some of the more humorous things that struck them in this book?
6) How about some of the more imaginative lines or descriptions in this book?
7) What do you think of Eustace in this book as compared to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?
8) How did reading this book make you feel?
9) So what is your opinion — Publication or Narnian chronology when recommending this series to someone who has never read these books before?

Friday, January 14, 2011

February 10th Meeting: The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair takes place in Narnian-year 2356, or Earth year 1948, and tells the story of Eustace Scrubb's return to Narnia with his friend Jill Pole. Join us at the Harrisonburg Barnes and Noble at 7:30 p.m. on February 10th for an adventure in Narnia.

Schedule for the Year: HERE

The discussion of George Macdonald's mythic fantasy "Phantastes" which so inspired the young C.S. Lewis was lively and interesting. The members focused in on many of the images that Macdonald used especially the nature of the "marble lady" and whether the book has a larger structure than simply an episodic tale. One of the observations that I thought was interesting was the fact that the faerie land intruded into the the "real world" at the beginning and that the ending was not merely waking from a dream. A question one might pose is where does reality end and the imagination begin. There is an eerie sense when reading "Phantastes" of having encountered all of this before, perhaps in another reality.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 13th Meeting: Phantastes

Phantastes, first published in 1858, is one of the strangest and most unpredictable books in the language. Virtually plotless, it tells the adventures of Anodos, an ordinary, even mundane character who, while ruffling through his father’s writing desk, comes upon a fairy who ushers him into an enchanted world where all of nature, from the tallest tree to the tiniest flower, is alive and where magical doorways and passages abound. After spending only a few hours in this mysterious wolrd of faerie, Anodos is nearly killed by the wicked ash tree, but then is saved by a gentle beech who gives him a garland of flowers to protect him. Sometime later, Anodos, comes upon a beautiful lady encased in marble. He sings her awake and then follows her as she runs off into a cave. Once inside the cave, the lady (who is an alder tree in disguise) seduces him and steals his beech leaves. Again, the ash attacks, only to be defeated by the blow of an axe wielded by Sir Percival, a wandering knight who has himself been seduced by the wicked alder. From here, the adventures of Anodos get (to quote the nineteenth century visitor to another magical land) “curiouser and curiouser.” In one episode, he enters the house of an ogre, and uncovers, in a hidden closet, his own shadow, a dark, relentless doppelganger that pursues him throughout the novel. In another episode, he comes upon a palace that contains a magic library with the power to allow its reader to enter directly into the world of books. In yet other episodes, he witnesses a goblin dance, enters a cottage with four doors that lead to the past, to sighs, to dismay, and to the timeless; and assists two sibling princes in slaying three dragons, a deed that wins him the status of hero and leads him to accept the role of squire to Sir Percival. In the final episode, Anodos, after being killed by a wolf, feels his soul leave the physical restraints of his body and become one with all of nature.
The book is a strange one, even to the modern reader accustomed to fantasy, and the reading of it had a profound impact on the seventeen-year-old would-be naturalist. As he turned the last page of the book, Lewis realized that something mystical, something almost inexplicable had happened within him: his imagination had been baptized (Surprised by Joy, chapter 11). For the first time, he sensed the power of holiness and caught a glimpse of a higher spiritual level toward which his early experiences of joy had been pointing him. … pgs. 11-12 Lewis Agonistes by Louis Markos.
Hero: Anodos
Encountered by the young Lewis in 1916 he wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves on 7 March 1916 saying:
I have had a great literary experience this week. I have discovered yet another author to add to our circle – our very own set: never since I first read 'The well at the world's end' have I enjoyed a book so much – and indeed I think my new 'find' is quite as good as Malory or Morris himself. The book, to get to the point, is George Macdonald's 'Faerie Romance', Phantastes, which I picked up by hazard in a rather tired Everyman copy – by the way isn't it funny, they cost 1/1d. Now – on our station bookstall last Saturday …

Questions and Images:
1. The following is a list of images in about the sequence they appear in the book. Discuss the images asking what they seem to mean to Macdonald, to Anodos, perhaps to Lewis and to what extent you think Lewis may have used these images in his own books.
The Ash Tree
The Beech Tree
The Alabaster Maiden
Sir Percival the rusted knight
The Closet/the Shadow/Ogre Lady's House
The Silver Palace The Pool The Half-Invisible People The Library
His Room "Sir Anodos" Winged people who die of desire.
The Story of Cosmo's Mirror
The Well and the Underground Country
Underground Country
The Girl of the Broken Globe
2. What elements in the book do you think would have evoked in Lewis "… the power of holiness" and "… the glimpse of a higher spiritual level."?
3. Lewis said that Phantastes baptized his imagination. Did the book have any effects like that on you?
4. Lewis once said that the characteristic of a myth was that it was a story which affected you even when it was told badly. Macdonald's writing has been criticized as relatively weak even by Lewis. First do you agree that Macdonald's writing is mythic (or mythopoeic)? and secondly, what properties do you think bring out this characteristic?
5. What works of Lewis most closely approximate works of Macdonald that you are familiar with or Phantastes itself?