Monday, April 6, 2015
April 9th "When I Was A Child I Read Books" Led By Peggy
CS Lewis Society meeting, April 9, 2015 Leader Peggy Printz
Discussion on When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
Intro: This book was first mentioned last year in the context of discussing one of Lewis’ essays. An attendee was reading this book of essays and commented that they seemed as if they could have been written by Lewis. Having read and loved her fiction, I was happy to suggest this book for our group. My assumption that she had been influenced by Lewis has not been confirmed, but it is clear that both have been deeply influenced by the same sources (classical literature and the Bible) and they have had many similar passions and interests.
Marilynne Robinson grew up in Idaho, where she “looked to Galilee for meaning and to Spokane for orthodonture.” She now lives in Iowa and teaches as the renowned Iowa writer’s workshop. She has been writer-in-residence, visiting professor, and/or speaker at numerous schools including the University of Kent, Yale, Amherst and Oxford. She has received many awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Gilead and the Orange Prize for Fiction (a British award) for Home.
In these essays, Robinson champions Christianity, the Old Testament, Moses, old American hymns, Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, liberal education, and real science (that which keeps an open mind, a sense of wonder and a sense of mystery.) She takes on Richard Dawkins and other of the “new atheists” , the current polarized and charged political and social climate in America, “tight-fisted Christians”, the continued dumbing-down of American education that focuses on preparing drones for the work force at the expense of the kind of liberal education that helped guide our founding fathers.
1. Obviously, Marilynne Robinson has many strongly held opinions. Which of her arguments are most persuasive? least persuasive? Are some you thought-provoking but not persuasive?
2. Do you have a favorite essay in this collection? A favorite quote? Least favorite essay?
3. Can you imagine a conversation between Robinson and Lewis and/or any of the other Inklings?
4. Robinson has said that Christianity’s noisiest critics have not done their homework. What do you think she means by this?
5. If you also read any of Robinson’s fiction, how do they compare? (stylistically, thematically, etc.)
Note: if you have not yet acquired the book, the second chapter can be read on-line at www.billmoyers.com/2014/10/19/child-read-books/ also an interview at that link.