This week on The Literary Life Podcast we have our final installment of the series on C. S. Lewis’ masterpiece Til We Have Faces. This week, our hosts finish up with Part 2, Chapters 1-4. Opening the conversation, Angelina shares some of her feelings on just having finished the book. She points out the importance of understanding the Cupid and Psyche myth. Cindy brings up the concept of a “sin-eater” in relation to Orual’s taking on of Psyche’s trials.
They talk about the ways in which Orual begins to see more clearly and remember things differently at this point in the story. The theme of selfish love versus self-sacrificing love comes full circle as the book closes. Orual’s symbolic death and rebirth are key topics, and the allusions to Christ and the Gospel throughout this story are truly exciting.
Join us next week for a special interview with Wendi Capehart on her literary life!
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I can’t say I learned nothing, at St. Charles Borromeo. I learned bladder control; which is good for women, useful in later life. The second thing I learned was that I had got almost everything terribly wrong.Hilary Mantel
We read Dante for his poetry and not for his theology because we have already met the theology elsewhere.W. H. Auden
In the twinkling of an eye, in a time too small to be measured, and in any place, all that seems to divide us from God can flee away, vanish, leaving us naked before Him, like the first man, like the only man, as if nothing but He and I existed. And since that contact cannot be avoided for long, and since it means either bliss or horror, the business of life is to learn to like it. That is the first and greatest commandment.C. S. Lewis
from “Autumn Journal”
by Louis Macneice
In a week I return to work, lecturing, coaching,
As impresario of the Ancient Greeks
Who wore the chiton and lived on fish and olives
And talked philosophy or smut in cliques;
Who believed in youth and did not gloze the unpleasant
Consequences of age;
What is life, one said, or what is pleasant
Once you have turned the page
The days grow worse, the dice are loaded
Against the living man who pays in tears for breath;
Never to be born was the best, call no man happy
This side death.
Conscious – long before Engels – of necessity
And therein free
They plotted out their life with truism and humour
Between the jealous heaven and the callous sea.
And Pindar sang the garland of wild olive
And Alcibiades lived from hand to mouth
Double-crossing Athens, Persia, Sparta,
And many died in the city of plague, and many of drouth
In Sicilian quarries, and many by the spear and arrow
And many more who told their lies too late
Caught in the eternal factions and reactions
Of the city state.
And free speech shivered on the pikes of Macedonia
And later on the swords of Rome
And Athens became a mere university city,
And the goddess born of the foam
Became the kept hetaera, heroine of Menander,
And the philosopher narrowed his focus, confined
His efforts to putting his own soul in order
And keeping a quiet mind.
And for a thousand years they went on talking,
Making such apt remarks,
A race no longer of heroes but of professors
And crooked business men and secretaries and clerks
Who turned out dapper little elegiac verses
On the ironies of fate, the transience of all
Affections, carefully shunning the over-statement
But working the dying fall.
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Hallelujah by Cindy Rollins
Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoire by Hilary Mantel
The Dyer’s Hand by W. H. Auden
The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs
Descent into Hell by Charles Williams
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