On The Literary Life podcast today, our hosts Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks discuss chapters 2-6 of C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Angelina reminds us as we begin this exploration of Lewis’ narrative not to read too much theology into the details of this dreamlike world he creates. Cindy points out the similarities between these chapters and his descriptions at the end of The Last Battle. Thomas highlights the passage on Napoleon from chapter 2, showing what Lewis envisioned hell to be like. Angelina, Cindy and Thomas talks about the description of the land near heaven, the various characters’ responses, as well as the weight of the actual environment and Lewis’ picture of those who people it.
Listen to The Literary Life:
We long for paradise because we were created for paradise. We were created to live in an environment that cooperates with, not fights against, our desires. We were created for Eden, a place we’ve never been, and so we desire a perfect life full of healthy relationships.Julie Sparkman
Anyone who puts himself forward to be elected to a position of political power is almost bound to be socially or emotionally insecure, or criminally motivated, or mad.Auberon Waugh
“The secret is not to dream,” she whispered. “The secret is to wake up. Waking up is harder. I have woken up and now I am real. I know where I come from and where I’m going. You cannot fool me anymore. Or touch me. Or anything that is mine.”Terry Pratchett
The Stricken Deer
by William Cowper
I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long since; with many an arrow deep infixt
My panting side was charg’d, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th’ archers. In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal’d, and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote
And silent woods I wander, far from those
My former partners of the peopled scene;
With few associates, and not wishing more.
Here much I ruminate, as much I may,
With other views of men and manners now
Than once, and others of a life to come.
I see that all are wand’rers, gone astray
Each in his own delusions; they are lost
In chace of fancied happiness, still wooed
And never won. Dream after dream ensues,
And still they dream that they shall still succeed,
And still are disappointed; rings the world
With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind,
And add two-thirds of the remainder half,
And find the total of their hopes and fears
Dreams, empty dreams. The million flit as gay
As if created only like the fly
That spreads his motley wings in th’ eye of noon
To sport their season and be seen no more.
Unhitching from the Crazy Train by Julie Sparkman
Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
The Personal Heresy by C. S. Lewis and E. M. Tillyard
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Brook Kerith by George Moore
Support The Literary Life:
Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!