Today on The Literary Life Podcast, we begin our new series on C. S. Lewis’ masterpiece, Til We Have Faces. This week, Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks cover the first two chapters and share their observations as they reread this oftentimes challenging book. To help us gain a framework for this novel, Thomas summarizes the myth of Cupid and Psyche, the first telling of which is found in The Golden Ass by Apuleius. Angelina shares about some similarities in this myth with several familiar fairy tales. Cindy points out how Lewis changes some key pieces of the story to make it less mythical and more tethered to historical time and place.
In opening the first chapter, Angelina tells her theory about this being a story about a character finding her identity as she looks back on her life. Our hosts talk about the strange nature of the paganism in Glome and also the interesting role of The Fox. They point out many of the classical Greek references that we need to pay attention to as we read this story.
Tune in next week for a special interview episode with the author of Dorothy and Jack, Gina Dalfonzo. Following that, we will be back with chapters 3-5 of Till We Have Faces.
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A good carpenter is known by his chips.Jonathan Swift
All too often, the legends old men tell are closer to the truth than the facts young professors tell. The wildest fairy tales of the ancients are far more realistic than the scientific phantasms imagined by moderns.Hilaire Belloc
Earth’s crammed with heaven,Elizabeth Barrett Browning
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes…
by John Donne
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil’s foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy’s stinging,
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be’st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return’st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
Lives a woman true, and fair.
If thou find’st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet;
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
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