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C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra

Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos

Judith Wolfe, Brendan Wolfe

Publication Year: 2013

C. S. Lewis considered his novel Perelandra (1943) among his favorite works. A triumph of imaginative science fiction writing, Perelandra—part of Lewis’s “Space Trilogy”—is also theologically ambitious. C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra: Reshaping the Image of the Cosmos argues that point and also how the novel synthesizes the three traditions of cosmology, mythology, and Christianity. The first group of essays considers the cosmological implications of the world Lewis depicts in Perelandra while the second group examines the relationship between morality and meaning in Lewis’s created cosmology of the world of Perelandra.

This work brings together a world-class group of literary and theological scholars and Lewis specialists that includes Paul S. Fid-des, Monika B. Hilder, Sanford Schwartz, Michael Travers, and Michael Ward. The collection is enhanced by Walter Hooper’s reminiscences of his conversations with Lewis about Perelandra and the possible provenance of the stories in Lewis’s imagination.

C. S. Lewis scholars and devoted readers alike will find this volume indispensible to the understanding of this canonical work of speculative fiction.

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: The Scope and Vision of This Study

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pp. vii-xv

Perelandra is unparalleled among C. S. Lewis’s works in the audacity and grandeur of its conception. This collection of essays brings together a world-class group of literary, theological, and Lewisian scholars to examine the scope of this conception and work out some of its practical implications. ...

Abbreviations for Works by C. S. Lewis

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pp. xvi-xviii

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C. S. Lewis and the Anthropological Approach

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pp. 1-10

I was one of that generation of Americans who discovered C. S. Lewis just as he was beginning to be well known in the States. That was fifty years ago, and, like many others, I remain indebted to Chad Walsh and his first book about Lewis—C. S. Lewis: Apostle to the Skeptics (1949). ...

The Perelandran Cosmos

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pp. 11-12

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Voyage to Venus: Lewis’s Imaginative Path to Perelandra

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pp. 13-32

When I think of Perelandra, the word that comes immediately to mind is plenitude. Plenitude . . . abundance . . . bounty: these are the qualities that linger upon the imaginative palate. In this second volume of his Cosmic Trilogy,1 Lewis has created a veritable cornucopia, almost overwhelming in the intensity and vitality of the sensory pleasures that it describes, ...

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“For the Dance All Things Were Made”: The Great Dance in C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra

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pp. 33-49

At the end of C. S. Lewis’s novel Perelandra, his hero Ransom has a whole year to gaze at a vision of the Great Dance. In the briefer time it will take to read this essay, I hope to open up some of the wonders of this cosmic dance. For it is extraordinary. In its context it sums up the themes of the novel, but it also uncovers the depths of Lewis’s religious vision of the universe. ...

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Perelandra in Its Own Time: A Modern View of the Space Trilogy

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pp. 50-68

In the first two volumes of the Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet (1938) and Perelandra (1943), C. S. Lewis presents his readers with a clear line of continuity and development as they proceed from one novel to the next. The continuity rests primarily on the conflict between the Christian protagonist, Elwin Ransom, and his two ruthless foes ...

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Surprised by the Feminine: A Rereading of Gender Discourse in C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra

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pp. 69-82

“Was C. S. Lewis sexist?” This question seems facile to many, and the common verdict is, “Indeed he was!” To some, he is a product of a sexist era, another “dead, white male poet” whose works should be approached with caution. After all, this is the man who in 1927 voted to limit the number of “wimmen” studying at Oxford.1 ...

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The Center and the Rim: Inversions of the System of the Heavens in Perelandra and The Discarded Image

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pp. 83-96

The writings of C. S. Lewis are deeply interrelated. Of special interest for the cultural historian are the relations between his scholarly and fictional works. They closely comment on one another: The Allegory of Love (written in parallel with the allegory Pilgrim’s Regress) is, in a way, a collection of images later expressed in the symbolism of Narnia. ...

Morality and Meaning in Perelandra

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pp. 97-98

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Perelandran Diction: A Study in Meaning

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pp. 99-121

Though many students of literature need no introduction to the works of C. S. Lewis, few would profess any familiarity with “the wisest and best of [his] unofficial teachers.” Lewis not only praises Owen Barfield in these words in his dedication to The Allegory of Love but elsewhere explicitly recommends Barfield’s book Poetic Diction to his readers. ...

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Myth, Pluralism, and Choice: Perelandra and Lewis on Religious Truth

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pp. 122-132

In his essay “Myth Became Fact,” Lewis argues that there is a dichotomy between human thought and human experience: intellectually, we can grasp only the abstract, but we can experience only the concrete. If we attempt to examine the objects of our experience, we cease to experience them as themselves: they instantly become mere instances or examples of a particular abstract concept. ...

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Frightful Freedom: Perelandra as Imaginative Theodicy

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pp. 133-143

In a letter to his old friend Arthur Greeves, dated September 12, 1933, C. S. Lewis responds to a question Arthur had raised about “God and evil.”1 The classic academic dilemma, as Lewis would later summarize it in The Problem of Pain, goes like this: “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what he wished. ...

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Free to Fall: The Moral Ground of Events on Perelandra

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pp. 144-155

In his essay “On Science Fiction,” C. S. Lewis explains that his Cosmic Trilogy—Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength—should be understood as a subspecies of the genre of science fiction. The effect Lewis attempts in his science fiction is to create “another world, . . . actual additions to life” that “enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience”1 ...

Contributors

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pp. 156-158

Index

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pp. 159-160

Back Cover

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p. 180-180


E-ISBN-13: 9781612777191
E-ISBN-10: 1612777198
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606351833

Page Count: 150
Publication Year: 2013