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BOOK REVIEWS 693 publisher: no bibliography is included. I think this is a serious oversight as it means readers find themselves constantly thumbing through the book looking at footnotes in order to find out more about the sources Van Leeuwen cites. That aside, A Sword between the Sexes is a very valuable contribution to Lewis scholarship. Don W King Montreat College c. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier: Science and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy. BySanford Schwartz. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN9780 -19-537472-8. Pp. 240. $27.95. In C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier, Sanford Schwartz presents a bold and intriguing thesis that, ifaccepted, willalter significantly the wayweread Lewis'space trilogy. In fact, his book attempts to do for the Trilogy what Michael Ward's recent Planet Narnia (Oxford University Press, 2008) did for the Chronicles: Schwartz claims to have discovered an underlying unity in the series unnoticed by previous scholars. Schwartz, a scholar of twentieth-century Modernism and self-described latecomer to Lewis,has perhaps been able to see the books in fresh ways because he approaches Lewis' works from a different background and critical perspective. This is not to say that Schwartz has not done his homework: he acknowledges his debt to Lewisscholars like Peter Schakel,Alan Jacobs, David Downing, Doris T.Meyers, and Charles Huttar, many of whom read his work and offered their criticism and advice. While Schwartz's work enhances our appreciation of Lewis' trilogy in multiple ways, two major aspects of his thesis stand out: he argues that the Trilogy is more integrated and unified than has previously been assumed, and he presents their author as one deeply engaged with the modern intellectual revolution, contrary to Lewis' self-styled image as an "intellectual dinosaur stranded in the modern world" (8). Schwartz begins by placing the space trilogy firmly in context, both of Lewis' literary career and social events. Specifically, he notes that the three novels (Out of the Silent Planet, 1938; Perelandra, 1943; and That Hideous Strength, 1945) were written during Lewis' most prolific writing period which saw him move from an academic, relatively unknown beyond the lecture halls of Oxford, to something of a celebrity in Britain and the rest of the English-speaking world because of his religious apologetic writings. Schwartz also places the books in the context ofWorld War II, noticing, for example, that the setting for the first novel is, appropriately enough, the planet named for the god of war and that the violent conditions ofthe time are imprinted on the novels themselves. Schwartz correctly points out, however, that, in spite of the physical violence in which the hero of all three novels, Elwin Ransom, participates, Lewis is more 694 CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE concerned with ideological warfare, specifically the "seemingly impassable conflict between Christian tradition and the evolutionary or 'developmental' tendencies of modern thought" (6). Schwartz clarifies further that Lewis was "less concerned with the prospect of subhuman ancestry than with a conceptual apparatus that consigns other human beings to subhuman status, or summons up an 'evolutionary imperative' to legitimate the suspension of time-honored ethical norms" (6). In this regard, Schwartz shows how Out ofthe Silent Planet reflects the contemporary concerns in Europe over the rise of Nazism, and that Lewis' fictional explorations allow him to warn prophetically against the possibilities of racial genocide and eugenic experimentation that came to pass in World War II and the following decades. Schwartz states that he intends his study to serve as a guide for readers through each of Elwin Ransom's adventures and to provide commentary on the series as a whole. His book's structure reflects this intention, devoting a chapter to each novel and including an appendix discussing the unfinished story posthumously published as The Dark Tower. While Schwartz acknowledges his debt to earlier full-length studies of the Trilogy by Martha Sammons, David Downing, and Jared Lobdell, he also argues for the originality of his approach embodied in three distinctive premises that undergird his discussions of the novels. First, Schwartz suggests that the three novels share the same narrative structure. His second foundational premise is that each novel presents and parodies a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 693-696
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-14
Open Access
No
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