Episode 47: The Great Divorce, Preface & Ch. 1
On The Literary Life podcast today, Cindy Rollins, Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks begin their series on The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis. Today you are going to get a crash-course in Medievalism through Lewis’ story, and we hope you will enjoy this book as much as our hosts do. Angelina kicks off the discussion even while sharing her commonplace quote, sharing some information about the epigraph and front matter. She gives us some historical context, both for where this books comes in Lewis’ own timeline, as well as some ideas of the journey of the soul and medieval dream literature.
Thomas gives some background on Prudentius and his allegorical work The Psychomachia. Angelina goes into some comparisons between The Great Divorce and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Thomas talks about Nathanial Hawthorne’s short story The Celestial Railroad as a satire of Pilgrim’s Progress. Also, if you haven’t read and listened to E. M. Forster’s Celestial Omnibus, see Episode 17. As they get into discussing the Preface, Thomas give us some information on William Blake. We will be back next week with a discussion on Chapters 2-6.
Listen to The Literary Life:
We do not obtain the most precious gifts by going in search of them but by waiting for them. Man cannot discover them by his own powers and if he sets out to seek for them he will find in their place counterfeits of which he will be unable to discern the falsity.Simone Weil
No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it–no plan to retain this of that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather.George MacDonald
A poet is not a man who says “look at me”, but rather a man who points at something and says “look at that.”C. S. Lewis
by Philip Larkin
Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;
And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day–
And the countryside not caring:
The place names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheat’s restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;
Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word–the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages,
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.
The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald
The Personal Heresy by C. S. Lewis and E. M. Tillyard
The Aeneid by Virgil
The Divine Comedy by Dante
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
The Holy War by John Bunyan
Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
A Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis
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This episode is brought to you by New College Franklin. We want to encourage you to check out their 2020 Spring Preview Days happening online via Zoom conferencing.
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You can find Angelina and Thomas at HouseofHumaneLetters.com, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ANGStanford/
Find Cindy at https://cindyrollins.net, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cindyrollins.net/. Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also!
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Dear Angelina, Cindy and Thomas,
I just wanted to send a message to thank you for your wonderful podcast which has enriched my literary life and has got me back into reading.
Although I do listen to a few different podcasts, yours is my favourite one.
I enjoy it because of the deep insights into the many variations of literature you choose to look at. I love the conversations the three of you have as you all gel so well together and seem to teach each other things as well as teaching your audience. You have enriched my reading very much.
I recently bought a literary life tote bag which I will be using when I visit the libraries and book shops when they open again after the covid-19 pandemic. I cannot afford to become a patreon member as yet but I still wanted to contribute.
I look forward to hearing many more episodes from you all and I hope I can one day soon be able to support you further.
Stay safe and healthy,
Love Angie, Cheshire, England, UK
Thanki you for those kind words!