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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"