C. S. LEWIS AND THE SCHOLARSHIP OF IMAGINATION IN E. NESBIT AND RIDER HAGGARD.
To explore the scholarship of imagination as C. S. Lewis practiced it, it is useful to begin with two poetic and striking passages. The first is from Lewis' great book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Caspian, the Narnian, expresses wonder to his friends from Earth:
"Do you mean to say," asked Caspian, "That you three come from a round world (round like a ball) and you've never told me! It's really too bad of you. Because we have fairy-tales in which there are round worlds and I always loved them. I never believed there were any real ones. But I've always wished there were and I've always longed to live in one. Oh, I'd give anything--I wonder why you can get into our world and we never get into yours? If only I had the chance! It must be exciting to live on a thing like a ball. Have you ever been to the parts where people walk about upside-down?" Edmund shook his head. "And it isn't like that," he added. "There's nothing particularly exciting about a round world when you're there. (208)
The second passage is from The Enchanted en·chant
tr.v. en·chant·ed, en·chant·ing, en·chants
1. To cast a spell over; bewitch.
2. To attract and delight; entrance. See Synonyms at charm. Castle, by E. Nesbit, whose work Lewis studied before writing his Narnia books:
When you are young so many things are difficult to believe, and yet the dullest people will tell you that they are true--such things, for instance, as that the earth goes round the sun, and that it is not flat but round. But the things that seem really likely, like fairy-tales and magic, are, so say the grownups, not true at all. Yet they are so easy to believe, especially when you see them happening. And, as I am always telling you, the most wonderful things happen to all sorts of people, only you never hear about them because the people think that no one will believe their stories, and so they don't tell them to any one except me. And they tell them to me, because they know that I can believe anything.(44)
What one notices here are motifs central to my topic: the motifs of belief; imagination; cosmology (the model by which reality is constructed); the telling of stories; the otherworldly and mysterious; and also a quirky humor. It is as if the Lewis passage is a transformation of the Nesbit passage.
Even C. S. Lewis' detractors--and there are many of them--acknowledge that he was a great scholar. What they do not acknowledge is that Lewis was also a great scholar of the imagination, an adept in the practice of narrative creation. Admittedly, Lewis' expertise in this respect lay in a certain kind of story, but then few writers do go beyond a limited repertoire of genres. Lewis' preference was essentially for romance: a kind of narrative in which the marvelous and fantastic are not only allowed but are required by the form. A subset of romance as Lewis knew it was children's literature children's literature, writing whose primary audience is children.
See also children's book illustration. The Beginnings of Children's Literature
The earliest of what came to be regarded as children's literature was first meant for adults. , and Lewis showed a respect for and interest in children's literature that is rare among highbrow scholars: Lewis cites E. Nesbit in his Studies in Words and cites The Wind in the Willows when seeking an example of the numinous nu·mi·nous
1. Of or relating to a numen; supernatural.
2. Filled with or characterized by a sense of a supernatural presence: a numinous place.
3. . The disdain for children's literature--some would say prejudice--is very much alive, still, as if taking a serious interest in the subject were childish or in no way equal to interest in other literary areas. Articles on children's literature in PMLA are rare enough.
At the same time, Lewis seemed to view children's literature not exactly as children's literature. He viewed it generically; that is, he wrote stories aimed at children not so much because he wanted to write for children tout court, but because he had in mind certain generic configurations and images that were appropriate for that genre. The materials determined the genre that should receive or contain them, rather than the other way round. He did not decide to write a children's story and then looked for things to put in it. He had motifs in mind which found their logical home in that specific kind of romance known as children's literature.
Literary scholarship is a familiar concept, and Lewis' criticism is a notable contribution to it. The Allegory of Love, which appeared in the 1930s, remains a central text in its field, for example, and is still regularly cited. But the concept of scholarship of imagination is less familiar, more complicated, more subtle. Nevertheless, Lewis illustrates this scholarship of the imagination with unusual clarity; indeed, he is particularly interesting as an illustration of the way writers absorb, transmute, and recreate earlier writing. This kind of scholarship is the knowledge of how to put stories together, what images and plot motifs to use (and what not to use); sensitivity to the rhythms of the visualizing imagination; the knowledge of how and when to trust instincts and impulses rather than calculating by reason. It sees possibilities in motifs used by earlier writers that it can develop in new ways. This scholarship is the knowledge of what motifs belong where, and it has a practical aspect. It is a theory which is simultaneously a practice, like the ability to improvise in music.
In essence, this scholarship of the imagination is a matter of studying, with sensitivity and thoroughness, how other writers have handled the elements of story in the past as objects of imagination rather than as "texts," with an eye to using them oneself. Hence the scholarship of imagination is intrinsically a matter of reading, and Lewis was a great reader. Indeed his reading could scarcely be matched in quantity and quality. He read--and re-read--with an intensity that derived from his own creative instinct, studying and searching through the materials of story. Lewis absorbed, recreated, and transmitted literary materials from other authors, and he illuminates a specific tradition that clearly includes George Macdonald's The Princess and the Goblin before Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time after him (A Wrinkle in Time remakes The Silver Chair, just as The Silver Chair remakes The Princess and the Goblin). This process of absorbing/transmuting was mostly unconscious, and it proceeds with all writers of importance; it is not a matter of "borrowing" (still less copying or plagiarizing) but of recreating. In Lewis, the process was unusually rich because of his respect for literary tradition and his own fascination with the process of story creation.
Discussions of Lewis typically focus on his "debt"--an inadequate, misleading word for the process of creation--to major figures of tradition such as Plato, Dante, Spenser, Milton, and to later writers such as Macdonald and Chesterton who are self-consciously Christian. The emphasis is on Lewis as apologist Apologist
Any of the Christian writers, primarily in the 2nd century, who attempted to provide a defense of Christianity against Greco-Roman culture. Many of their writings were addressed to Roman emperors and were submitted to government secretaries in order to defend , as Christian writer, and therefore on his relation to writers in the line of Christian apologetics Christian apologetics is the field of study concerned with the systematic defense of Christianity. The term "apologetic" comes from the Greek word apologia (απολογία), which means in defense of . But, important as these are, there is another group even more important in terms of the scholarship of imagination, and whose presence in Lewis' writing has scarcely been noted, perhaps because they are either hostile or indifferent to Christianity.
This other group consists of the writers of his youth, the writers who deposited the first layer of imaginative materials in Lewis' psyche. Some of these Lewis speaks of, and some he does not; some are major figures, some are marginal, and some have been treated with contempt by critics. This group includes H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Rider Haggard, and E. Nesbit, among others (including L. Frank Baum Noun 1. Frank Baum - United States writer of children's books (1856-1919)
Baum, Lyman Frank Brown , the creator of the Oz books). Again, these writers are either not Christian at all or are not concerned with Christian apologetics; they belong rather to the efflorescence efflorescence: see hydrate. of romance around the turn of the century--around the time Lewis was born and the period of his childhood and youth--and they provided, in effect, a primer of the imagination. They gave him a vocabulary from which he would always draw, for both materials--and inspiration. Again, Lewis' extensive use of these materials was not "plagiarism Using ideas, plots, text and other intellectual property developed by someone else while claiming it is your original work. ": rather, it is typical of the way writers build on and create out of the work of earlier writers. Hence his use of them illustrates the creative process itself.
Many examples of the process of re-creation could be cited: a surprising example is Lewis' absorption of Bram Stoker. Lewis' That Hideous Strength owes so much to Bram Stoker's Dracula that Hideous Strength could be described as a metamorphosis of Stoker's book. (Stoker was, like Lewis, a Protestant Irishman who left Ireland and settled in England; for discussion, see "Bram Stoker and C. S. Lewis"). But my main concern here is with Lewis' Narnia books, and for these, E. Nesbit was a rich and formative source. Much can be learned about Lewis' creative and intellectual output as a whole from pondering the presence of Nesbit in Lewis' writing. The extent of Lewis' borrowing from Nesbit is remarkable, drawing precise details but also plot configurations and character types from Nesbit for his own creations. Some of this influence has been documented, and in detail, but Nesbit offers a point of entry to the subject before turning to another field of influence, Rider Haggard. Lewis read and re-read both Nesbit and Haggard throughout his life, evidently finding them sources of inspiration and of imaginative materials. Yet both are considered "marginal," "minor" writers, and Haggard is regarded as being as politically incorrect politically incorrect
Disregarding or unconcerned with political correctness.
political incorrectness n.
Adj. 1. as it is possible for a writer to be.
Mary R. Howes' study (as well as "What C. S. Lewis Took from E. Nesbit") indicates the range--and the astonishing precision--of Lewis' absorption of Nesbit, whose writing provided him with a fund of plot motif, image, and even phrasing for creating his Narnia. But this is how the scholarship of imagination works: it absorbs details that are recreated in other contexts in new stories. The process is both mysterious and yet fundamental to literary creation. The central Nesbit text for Lewis is always The Story of the Amulet amulet (ăm`yəlĭt), object or formula that credulity and superstition have endowed with the power of warding off harmful influences. , with secondary emphasis on The Enchanted Castle: an indication of Lewis' creative instincts, for these are Nesbit's supreme achievements as a literary artist. Here Lewis was not alone in his appreciation. Another writer who re-read her work in a similar manner was Noel Coward Noun 1. Noel Coward - English dramatist and actor and composer noted for his witty and sophisticated comedies (1899-1973)
Sir Noel Pierce Coward, Coward ; indeed he was reading The Enchanted Castle when he died. In 1956, he wrote that "she, of all the writers I have ever read, has given me over the years the most complete satisfaction"(1): a remarkable tribute from a writer who could hardly resemble Lewis less.
To understand how Lewis worked with Nesbit, a good example, and one that has not been noted before, is a passage from Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which has its direct antecedent ANTECEDENT. Something that goes before. In the construction of laws, agreements, and the like, reference is always to be made to the last antecedent; ad proximun antecedens fiat relatio. in E. Nesbit's The Story of the Amulet. The passage from Lewis is the scene in which the children on board the Dawn Treader arrive at the Lone Islands In the Chronicles of Narnia, The Lone Islands are a set of three islands - Felimath, Doorn, and Avra - that are part of the Narnian empire. They became attached to the Narnian crown when King Gale of Narnia killed a dragon that ruled them during the era before and are captured on shore by pirates, who make them slaves, while their leader, Caspian, finds refuge with Lord Bern (3.8-51). In Nesbit, the children pass through the magic Amulet and find themselves on a boat outside ancient Tyre. On landing, they are captured and made slaves (240-56).
Nesbit's description of the boat itself (240-41) recalls Lewis' Dawn Treader, including the rising-falling motion of the deck, which the narrator NARRATOR. A pleader who draws narrs serviens narrator, a sergeant at law. Fleta, 1. 2, c. 37. Obsolete. specifically draws attention to (compare Dawn Treader 41). The children in Nesbit find someone they knew from the distant past (Rekhmara) (243); the men they meet have "black beards and hair" (241), in particular the Captain, who is described twice as "black-haired" (242, 243). The most boisterous of Nesbit's children, Robert, cannot resist the impulse to disparage dis·par·age
tr.v. dis·par·aged, dis·par·ag·ing, dis·par·ag·es
1. To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; belittle. See Synonyms at decry.
2. To reduce in esteem or rank. the size of the ship to the Captain (who is annoyed); Robert contrasts the greatness of modern technology (246). The children are rowed to shore and at first, everything is delightful: the "morning was so fresh and bright" (248); "they enjoyed everything to the full, the row ... to the shore ... and the pleasant country"--"the place to spend a happy day" (251). Despite the beauty of the day and the pleasant scenery, they are suddenly made slaves, and taken to a long, low house with pillars: "The house they came to at last was rather like a bungalow--long and low, with pillars all along the front" (251; my emphasis). Here they are treated as valued guests, not slaves. The episode concludes with a complicated stratagem STRATAGEM. A deception either by words or actions, in times of war, in order to obtain an advantage over an enemy.
2. Such stratagems, though contrary to morality, have been justified, unless they have been accompanied by perfidy, injurious to the rights of involving ships and misdirection MISDIRECTION, practice. An error made by a judge in charging the jury in a special case.
2. Such misdirection is either in relation to matters of law or matters of fact.
3.-1. , which results in their escape.
In Lewis, by comparison, the boat anchors, and the motif of recovered memory The remembrance of traumatic childhood events, usually involving Sexual Abuse, many years after the events occurred.
The heightened awareness of child sexual abuse that developed in the 1980s also brought with it the controversial topic of recovered memory. again appears: what has been long gone is now present (as in Nesbit when the children meet Rekh-mara again). Thus Lucy exclaims on seeing the islands Doom and Felimath once more, greeting them as if they were people (38). Eustace then has a heated exchange with the annoyed Captain concerning the size of the ship (40)--the greatness of modern technology being a favorite theme of Eustace's. The children are then rowed to shore: "It was delightful" on land and "much warmer" than on the ship (41). They meet a group of men whose leader, like the Captain in Nesbit, has prominent black hair (42, 43); these men--they turn out to be pirates--appear to be friendly, but capture and enslave en·slave
tr.v. en·slaved, en·slav·ing, en·slaves
To make into or as if into a slave.
en·slavement n. them. Caspian is fortuitously rescued (actually, bought) by "a fine-looking bearded man" who takes him to his house: "it was a happy and prosperous fief. Here they all went ashore and were royally feasted in a low, pillared house overlooking the bay" (50; my emphasis: Lewis actually quotes Nesbit). Then follows a complicated stratagem involving ships and misdirection, which episode concludes with their gaining their freedom. An example of a more notable passage in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that makes similar use of Nesbit is the episode of the Magician's book, in which the pictures come alive as Lucy leafs through the book. This is one of Lewis' great moments as a creative artist. But the superb episode has its counterpart in one of Nesbit's tales, "The Book of Beasts," in which beings come alive up out of the pages of a magical book.
Notice how precisely Lewis replicates certain details in the Lone Islands episode--for example, the type of house used (low, with pillars) and the physical appearance of the men. But he also follows Nesbit's plot. That is, Lewis takes not just specific details but the sequence of motifs that make up the episode: being on a ship; recognizing elements from the far past (a past which is double in both cases: near for the children but very distant in absolute terms (Alg.) such as are known, or which do not contain the unknown quantity.
See also: Absolute ); the topic of time; landing; capture by blackhaired men and being made slaves; a low-pillared house; feasting; and finally a complicated stratagem involving boats and misdirection.
Even more important, both episodes belong to a certain kind of story. Both The Dawn Treader and The Amulet are quest stories, quests for, ultimately, "heart's desire," a phrase that both Nesbit and Lewis use. In Lewis, the quest begins as the search for lost mariners (the seven lords), and includes other quests: to heal Eustace's personality, to "heal" the Dufflepuds (and Lord Rhoop from darkness to light), to wake the three sleepers, and, in the background, to recover the youth of Ramandu the star and to betroth be·troth
tr.v. be·trothed, be·troth·ing, be·troths
1. To promise to give in marriage: was betrothed to a member of the royal family.
2. Archaic To promise to marry. his daughter to Caspian. But in the end, finally, the quest becomes Reepicheep's quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue
look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the the ultimate--for Aslan's world, for eternity.
In Nesbit, we find a similar sequence; the quest begins with the children's yearning to have their parents return safely home, goes on to include the quest of Rekh-mara for power, the learned gentleman for life and purpose, Imogen for a mother, and the enslaved for freedom; but in the end, the sequence returns to the quest for the reunified family. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , Nesbit stays on the human plane, whereas Lewis draws toward the divine. Lewis absorbs the human quest within the divine quest, so to speak. Nevertheless, Nesbit has her hints of divinity. One notices that there is another quest in her story--the quest of the Psammead, the crabby crab·by
adj. crab·bi·er, crab·bi·est Informal
crabbi·ly adv. and cantankerous can·tan·ker·ous
1. Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable: disliked her cantankerous landlord.
2. sand-fairy who gives the children wishes. The Psammead seeks freedom, which really means peace, release from the obsessions and compulsions of those who have taken advantage of him. Lewis absorbed and transformed the Psammead in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader into Reepicheep the mouse, who is similar to the Psammead in size and appearance, but more importantly in terms of his vivid, striking personality. The yearning of the Psammead formed the prototype of Reepicheep's superb final scene in The Dawn Treader, as he slips out of Lucy's arms, and disappears into the unknown, into Aslan's kingdom. Compare the Psammead and Anthea in Nesbit just before he vanishes into his mystic heart's desire at the end of The Amulet.
The Amulet and The Dawn Treader belong to a type of story where freedom, healing, and reunion are fundamental: motifs one finds in works for adults such as The Winter's Tale and The Tempest (or operas such as The Magic Flute and Parsifal). In such stories, certain motifs and episodes are appropriate, for example the motif of setting people free, whether slaves or captives. Contrast gives plot motifs greater impact; hence, one almost needs another scene showing enslavement en·slave
tr.v. en·slaved, en·slav·ing, en·slaves
To make into or as if into a slave.
en·slavement n. , so that the act of setting free has maximum power. Lewis was familiar with this enslavement/ freedom contrast from Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee Connecticut Yankee,
the struck on the head, he awakens to find himself in 6th-century England. [Am. Lit.: Mark Twain A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court]
See : Time Travel in King Arthur's Court, a novel that Lewis read very early (it was, somewhat surprisingly, his first contact with the Arthurian stories). Hence, the protagonists in Nesbit and Lewis (as well as in Twain) first go through the ordeal of capture and enslavement, and then they are set free. Lewis features an auction of slaves scene, which Nesbit does not have, but Twain does. In Twain, as in Lewis, there is a sale of slaves in which one of the company is humiliated hu·mil·i·ate
tr.v. hu·mil·i·at·ed, hu·mil·i·at·ing, hu·mil·i·ates
To lower the pride, dignity, or self-respect of. See Synonyms at degrade. by being worth less than the rest--a useful detail, as Lewis realized.
Lewis is thus working with a configuration--a certain kind of story-that Nesbit had earlier worked with, so that she could offer Lewis not only materials (images, plot motifs, characters), but also hints for plot configuration (the kind of episode that a certain type of story requires). The connection goes deeper. For the process of absorbing/recreating is the very life of a tradition, the transmission over time of a creative current-the handing down of the means and body of creation from one generation of creators to another. In this manner, the relation between Lewis and Nesbit has what is properly a spiritual dimension: there is a sense of responsibility and of allegiance involved. What this responsibility entails is not merely respect for those who have gone before, important as that is, but respect for the imagination itself--respect for the expanding of the reader's imagination which is the writer's responsibility, and which Lewis emphasizes in his Experiment in Criticism. For Lewis, this obligation merged with the responsibility he felt as a Christian to restate and spread the Gospel message. Nesbit did not feel this obligation, but she did share the sense of the vitality and power of the imagination which makes belief possible. One thinks of Lewis' comment that "To construct plausible and moving `other worlds' you must draw upon the only real `other world' we know, that of the spirit" (Of This and Other Worlds 35-36). The interrelations between spiritual perception and creative activity for a writer are complex, subtle, and important.
The motif of other worlds brings us to the two passages that I cited at the outset of this exploration. Lewis' extensive and detailed absorption of Nesbit suggests that the passage from The Dawn Treader is a re-creation of the passage in Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle. Notice the motifs: belief and non-belief; fairy tales and facts; images of a round earth and of a flat earth; and a questioning and eager mind--the narrator in Nesbit exclaims that amazing things happen, though people do not tell of these things-except to her, and, she says, "They tell me because I can believe anything." In Lewis, Caspian restlessly questions and speculates--and we notice that in the end--that is, at the end of The Silver Chair when he is "dead," he gets his wish, and visits the England that Edmund describes as not particularly interesting.
The Nesbit passage appears to lie "beneath," as it were, the conversation from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. One looks through the lines in Lewis and sees a layer, as in a palimpsest palimpsest (păl`ĭmpsĕst'): see manuscript. , of Nesbit's imaginative writing. It is not that Lewis read Nesbit and then "borrowed," still less plagiarized, from Nesbit: it is rather that Nesbit was digested and absorbed by Lewis' creative scholarship, which transmuted and found uses for it in his own work. One does not prove these relationships, of course, but the intensity with which Lewis read and re-read Nesbit, and even made use of very precise details for his own work, indicates the thoroughness of his "research"--the research of the creative scholar, who studies predecessors in order to create new work. This scholarship of imagination is both a training and a form of consultation (how did Nesbit do it?). It is mysterious, too, because it is largely unconscious and involuntary.
In his classic study of the sources that went into Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan," The Road to Xanadu, John Livingston Lowes John Livingston Lowes (December 201867-August 151945) was an American scholar of English literature. He was born in Decatur, Indiana. He was an authority on the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. uses the metaphor of a well: Coleridge's omnivorous omnivorous
eating both plant and animal foods. reading went into the "well," and came out transmuted to form the materials of one of the supremely great poems of the English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. . The same process was at work in the case of Lewis, and it accounts in part for the resonance and magic of his scenes: they were themselves the product of the magic of creation--indeed they derive from a stream of imagination which stretches "beneath" Lewis' work into the writers who inspired him when he was as young and receptive as the eager Caspian--or the narrator of The Enchanted Castle who tells us that people confide their marvels to her when others will not listen: "And they tell them to me, because they know that I can believe anything." What Lewis shows us, above all, is that it is not simply writing that is a creative act, but reading itself.
One can hardly imagine a writer more different from Nesbit than Rider Haggard. Nesbit was a feminist and socialist; Haggard has a reputation for being an imperialist and a misogynist mi·sog·y·nist
One who hates women.
Of or characterized by a hatred of women.
Noun 1. misogynist - a misanthrope who dislikes women in particular
woman hater . Yet Lewis integrated both of these disparate influences in creating the Namia books, showing curious ways in which these otherwise very different writers dovetail dovetail
n a widened or fanned-out portion of a prepared cavity, usually established deliberately to increase the retention and resistance form. with each other. But this fusion of disparate materials is part of what I mean by the scholarship of imagination, that treats all influences, both the grand and the apparently trivial, as equally potential materials for creation: the French call it bricolage bri·co·lage
Something made or put together using whatever materials happen to be available: "Even the decor is a bricolage, a mix of this and that" Los Angeles Times. . Lewis shows how, in a curiously similar way, a culture builds up a whole world view or "Model" (as he calls it in The Discarded Image) out of apparently conflicting and disparate sources. In other words, this is a process that goes on culturally, and not just on the individual level of writers reading writers; it seems to be something inherent in the human psyche. The process involved is essentially that identified by Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams as "condensation" (Verdichtung): the fusing of different materials in a single form.
The Narnia books where Nesbit is most visible are The Magician's Nephew and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (though traces of her writing can be found in all of the Chronicles of Narnia). The presence of Haggard by contrast is most noticeable in The Horse and His Boy and in the apocalyptic opening and concluding works in the Narnia series: The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. Haggard also left traces in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Silver Chair, but The Dawn Treader, significantly, is free of Haggard's influence. I proceed to outline Haggard materials primarily in The Horse and His Boy and then in The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle. The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle make up a complex pair, because they deal with cosmic creation and destruction, beginning and end, and hence there are certain symmetries and connections. I focus on one text of Haggard's--Ayesha, the sequel to She--though it is difficult to speak of Haggard's presence in Lewis without referring to She and to King Solomon's Mines King Solomon’s mines
in Africa; search for legendary lost treasure of King Solomon. [Br. Lit.: King Solomon’s Mines]
See : Treasure .
The Horse and His Boy is the most neglected of the Narnia books; this is unfortunate because it is a charming and rich text. Its richness and charm derive partly from the materials that Lewis drew on, and Haggard provided some of the most important of these materials, above all the landscape that organizes The Horse and His Boy. At the center of Lewis' narrative is a vast desert plain, with a hidden source of water. On one side of the plain is Tashbaan, a huge walled city that is both the seat of a terrible tyranny and the site of treachery and trickery. On the opposite side of the plain is a river that marks the boundary with a mountain kingdom (Archenland), a place of freedom and the goal of the escaping protagonists. Archenland is also the object of attack from Tashbaan, the city across the desert, the city from which the protagonists are fleeing. For the tyrant of Tashbaan is planning a surprise attack, motivated by greed and by an insane infatuation of his son, Prince Rabadash Prince Rabadash is a human character from C. S. Lewis's fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. Prince Rabadash is the heir to the throne of the Tisroc of Calormen. .
King Solomon's Mines is the prototype for this landscape. The adventurers cross an impassable desert (via a hidden source of water), reaching the mountains beyond. Likewise, in Horse, the travelers find an outcropping of stone in the desert "which afforded a most grateful shelter from the heat," and beneath which they "soon were sound asleep" (59). In The Horse and His Boy, the adventurers are heading (via the hidden source of water) for a conspicuous double-peaked mountain, Mt. Pire, which acts as a direction marker. In King Solomon's Mines, the adventurers are also heading for a double mountain, known as Sheba's Breasts, which, like the double mountain in Horse, can be seen far off on the horizon. Sheba's Breasts are volcanic in origin---Mt. Pire in Lewis has a name which means "fire." The protagonists' hot and thirsty race up the mountain in Horse recalls the similarly hot and thirsty climb in King Solomon's Mines.
The landscape of King Solomon's Mines is replicated in Ayesha, the sequel to She, and Ayesha is a richer ground for Lewis' Narnian visions, perhaps because of its metaphysical overtones. Essentially the same landscape appears twice in Ayesha. In the first instance, we have an immense desolate plain which the travelers, Leo Leo, in astronomy
Leo [Lat.,=the lion], northern constellation lying S of Ursa Major and on the ecliptic (apparent path of the sun through the heavens) between Cancer and Virgo; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Vincy and Horace Holly, cross coming unexpectedly to a holy sanctuary, the abode One's home; habitation; place of dwelling; or residence. Ordinarily means "domicile." Living place impermanent in character. The place where a person dwells. Residence of a legal voter. Fixed place of residence for the time being. of a monk, who calmly welcomes both them and their animal, "who also has claims," he carefully notes (19). In The Horse and His Boy, the travelers, utterly exhausted, cross the desert and come unexpectedly to a hermit hermit [Gr.,=desert], one who lives in solitude, especially from ascetic motives. Hermits are known in many cultures. Permanent solitude was common in ancient Christian asceticism; St. Anthony of Egypt and St. Simeon Stylites were noted hermits. and his sanctuary, the Hermit of the Southern Marches, who calmly welcomes them, carefully noting the claims of the animals: "`Now, cousins,' he said to the horses. `It is your turn'" (116).
The second instance of this landscape in Ayesha is more important. First the travelers visit a large decadent city, ruled by the beautiful Khania (and her Rabadash-like husband). Beyond the city is a vast, desolate "sunburnt sun·burn
Inflammation or blistering of the skin caused by overexposure to direct sunlight.
tr. & intr.v. sun·burned or sun·burnt , sun·burn·ing, sun·burns
To affect or be affected with sunburn. plain" (237), ending at a river which marks the boundary with the mountain country ruled by Ayesha (Ayesha is the She of She). This is the goal of the travelers, as well as a refuge from their pursuers. The mountain landscape (122) closely recalls the parallel rising ground in The Horse and His Boy. But to get there, Leo and Horace must escape the city by a stratagem, and must survive pursuit by the enraged Khan and his pack of "Death-Hounds" (72). These hounds severely wound Leo when they are nearly at their goal. Likewise, in The Horse and His Boy, after escaping the city (also by a stratagem), the travelers race for Archenland before the mad Prince Rabadash can get there, and, again recalling Haggard, they are pursued by a terrible lion, who wounds Aravis severely. Haggard's "Death-Hounds" are not lions, but they are compared to lions: "the brutes seemed the size of lions and more fierce" (110). In Horse, the lion turns out to be Aslan and ultimately benign, whereas Haggard's "Death-Hounds" are simply dangerous. Nevertheless, in dying the hounds' master refers prophetically to the true power (111). This scene also suggests the episode of killing the wolf in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. "I saw them spring," says Horace in Haggard's novel, "and after that who can tell exactly what happened?" Later he says, "Its whole weight came upon the point of my spear.... The spear entered between its foreleg.... I saw the dog rolling on the ground before me and gnashing" (110). In Lewis: "all this happened too quickly to think at all--he had just time to ... plunge his sword, as hard as he could, between the brute's forelegs ... the monster lay dead" (106). The repetition of the word "foreleg" is telling: the scholarship of imagination often is stimulated by the use of a single word, certain words having unique resonance for certain writers, as we shall see with the word "blast" below.
After the travelers in Ayesha reach the mountains, they are led by a mysterious guide whose shape they can only glimpse in "the twilight" and "the dark":
a few paces ahead of us walked our unwearying guide ... upon which the faint light shimmered, never speaking, never looking back, she glided on noiselessly between the black rocks and the twisted, dark-green firs and junipers.... We turned this way and turned that way, we passed an open patch and through the shadows of a grove, till at length as the moon rose we entered a ravine, and followed a path that ran down it." (122; cf. 119)
This passage is the prototype of the crucial scene in Prince Caspian where Aslan, in the tricky moonlight, leads the lost travelers through the rocks and trees, along a path that goes down into a ravine in the shadows (132-34). Again, as in Haggard, a mystic light comes from the guide.
In Haggard, the guide is the semi-divine She herself, and what she leads her charges to first is a scene of horror. This scene reappears in The Last Battle, when the false priest-leader Rishda Tarkaan and his confederate, the cat Ginger, harangue the crowd in front of the bonfire on Stable Hill. In Ayesha, a wicked priest--accompanied by a conspicuous cat--harangues the crowd beside a fire that burns "with great fierceness, throwing a vivid light upon every detail of the spectacle" (124). When an innocent victim is about to be thrown by him into the fire, Leo cannot stand it: "the next thing I saw was Leo rushing through the gate waving the Khan's sword and shouting at the top of his voice" (125). In The Last Battle, similarly, King Titian Titian (tĭsh`ən), c.1490–1576, Venetian painter, whose name was Tiziano Vecellio, b. Pieve di Cadore in the Dolomites. Of the very first rank among the artists of the Renaissance, Titian had an immense influence on succeeding generations is secretly watching, like Leo and Horace in Ayesha, as an innocent victim is about to be thrown into the deadly stable behind the fire; when "no one go[es] to its help--something seemed to burst inside" Titian (106). A bit later the text notes "He no longer cared if this was the best moment to interfere or not.... The King's sword flashed in the firelight as he waved it above his head and cried in a great voice" (106). A desperate straggle strag·gle
intr.v. strag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
1. To stray or fall behind.
2. To proceed or spread out in a scattered or irregular group.
n. ensues in both cases.
The Last Battle is an apocalyptic vision and, properly speaking Adv. 1. properly speaking - in actual fact; "properly speaking, they are not husband and wife"
strictly speaking, to be precise , a tour de force. To present a vision of the end of the world, with its Biblical symbolism and references to the book of Revelation, in the form of a children's story, is a remarkable achievement. It succeeds better in recreating the Last Things than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe succeeds in transposing the crucifixion into a children's story. At the same time, there is another apocalyptic story in the Narnia series, The Magician's Nephew, and its Creation sequence succeeds better than either The Last Battle or The Lion in revisualizing a Biblical theme in terms of Narnia, in the form of what is ostensibly os·ten·si·ble
Represented or appearing as such; ostensive: His ostensible purpose was charity, but his real goal was popularity. a children's story.
The Magician's Nephew owes much to E. Nesbit, a debt that the opening page makes clear and explicit, since Lewis explicitly connects his story to Nesbit's Story of the Treasure-Seekers, and the opening episodes of Nephew are full of echoes of the adventures of Nesbit's Bastable children. But Lewis quickly leaves these scenes behind as Nephew expands into a cosmic adventure. Here the figure of Jadis, the Queen of Charn, recalls the Queen of Babylon in The Story of the Amulet, especially in the episode of the Babylonian Queen's visit to Edwardian London--an episode that Lewis recreated in the central chapters of The Magician's Nephew (59-85), as has long been noted (for example, Marcus Crouch early commented on this connection).
But Jadis owes more to Haggard than she does to Nesbit: Lewis adapted Nesbit's plot motifs to his purpose, fusing it with Haggard's characterization. For as Hugh Crago has noted, Jadis (the White Witch For other uses, see White Witch (disambiguation).
White witch, or good witch, are qualifying terms in English used to distinguish those helpful witches who do not use magic to harm others from normal witches. , as she is to become in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) derives from Haggard's She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed in She. Jadis is among the most important figures in the Chronicles of Narnia, as a kind of personification personification, figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstract ideas are endowed with human qualities, e.g., allegorical morality plays where characters include Good Deeds, Beauty, and Death. of evil. This is one reason why Nesbit could not help Lewis here. Nesbit was not comfortable with characters who are all bad--or all good, for that matter--and someone on the mythic scale of Jadis, the evil who invades the innocent new creation of Narnia, after destroying her own world, was outside Nesbit's range. Haggard was more useful to Lewis here. There is, however, one apocalyptic motif that Lewis found in Nesbit. The Last Battle does have one important prototype in The Enchanted Castle, somewhat surprisingly, since Nesbit tends to avoid apocalyptic themes. The exception is one of the most spectacular moments in all Nesbit, the scene in which hordes of beings from all around the world are summoned together for a final meeting on the hilltop with features that closely recall the apocalyptic door through which all the creatures of the Narnian world come pouring in thousands, again in response to a summons. It is the kind of scene that could not fail to seize Lewis' imagination.
Jadis is a key figure in the Narnia books. She is central to the plot of The Magician's Nephew and of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Evil characters in Prince Caspian attempt to call her up, and she is discussed in The Horse and His Boy as the recent ruler of Narnia. The only Narnia book where there is no trace of her is, significantly, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In The Silver Chair she forms the prototype for the evil Queen of Underland; this mysterious Queen of Underland may in fact be Jadis reincarnated. Haggard provided several suggestive motifs for The Silver Chair, for both the kingdom of Kor kor
[Hebrew kôr, from Akkadian kurru, from Sumerian gur, a unit of measurement.]
Noun 1. in She and Kukuanaland in King Solomon's Mines feature huge caves and underground settings conspicuously, as does Ayesha. In Ayesha, the phrase "the Over-world" is used (222)--The Silver Chair uses the same term. The Silver Chair concludes on top of Aslan's mountain (recalling the visionary mountain of Ayesha): the dead Caspian is restored to life, metamorphosing from old to young before the wondering eyes of Jill and Eustace. In Ayesha, not only is She herself metamorphosed from old to young, but so is Leo, one of the travelers. After "Leo grew to look like an old man," Ayesha brings about a transformation: "the change produced in him was wonderful. Within a minute his eyes grew bright again, and the colour returned into his cheeks" (241).
In terms of the focal figure of Jadis, however, Ayesha furnished Lewis with important elements. The Ayesha who appears in She is a nasty, megalomanic meg·a·lo·ma·ni·a
1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions. character bent on Adj. 1. bent on - fixed in your purpose; "bent on going to the theater"; "dead set against intervening"; "out to win every event"
bent, dead set, out to world conquest (much like Jadis, who launches her "conquest of the world" in The Magician's Nephew). Ayesha in the book of that name seems to have similar ambitions: "These plans of Ayesha's were far-reaching and indeed terrific ... she purposed to make Leo the absolute monarch of the world" (206). Ayesha is convinced that "When we appear among men ... clad in terrifying power, in dazzling beauty and in immortality of days, will they not cry 'Be ye our monarchs and rule over us!'" (208). The phrase "dazzling beauty" recalls the impact made on Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew, where Jadis is described as "dazzlingly beautiful" (55). Lewis also uses this phrase ("dazzling beauty") in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when Lucy contemplates the spell that would make her "beautiful beyond the lot of mortals," with the result that the nations would be "laid waste with the fury of the kings" fighting over her (142). Again, the motifs of beauty, conquest, and going beyond mortality are connected here, as in Ayesha and in The Magician's Nephew.
The powers exercised by Jadis--and her frightening life-history--have close counterparts in Ayesha. The figure clearly held deep fascination for Lewis' artistic instincts. In The Magician's Nephew, Jadis is awakened from her mystic sleep, recalling both the immortality and the reincarnation of Ayesha. Jadis tells her story to Digory and Polly, as they rush from the disintegrating palace of Charn. Hurrying from hall to hall, they reach "the main entrance," its doors "dead black" and "fastened with great bars, most of them too high to reach and all too heavy to lift." Digory "wondered how they would get out" (51). They get out because the Queen "blasts" the doors by raising her arm and uttering a spell, "And those high and heavy doors trembled for a second ... and then crumbled away till there was nothing left of them but a heap of dust" (52). This power is referred to as "blasting," a word that Lewis draws attention to: "Digory had not been in the drawing room when she tried to `blast' Aunt Letty, but he had seen her `blast' the gates of Charn: so he knew her terrible powers" (72). Jadis seems to have brought this "terrible power" with her from Haggard, for Ayesha has it too: "were the mountain heaped thereon, I would blast a path through it" (Ayesha 193). She also "blasts" a door with her power: "Its doors were shut and barred; still, at Ayesha's coming, yes, before the mere breath of her presence, the iron bolts snapped like twigs, the locks flew back and inward burst that massive portal" (239).
This motif is visually spectacular, and attention is drawn to it again by Ayesha herself: "was it a woman whose breath wrought destruction upon yonder plain? Was it to a woman that Blast and Lightning bowed? ... Did that dead thing (and she pointed to the shattered door) break inward at a woman's will? Or could a woman charm this man to stone?" (248). Notice that she has the power to turn to stone--the defining power of the White Witch (Jadis) in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Furthermore, as is made plain in both Wardrobe and in The Magician's Nephew, Jadis is not a woman at all--that is, not a human woman, but something else. Likewise Ayesha is a woman, but more than a woman.
The story that Jadis relates to Polly and Digory as they stare at the ruined city Location
The Ruined City is a fictional stronghold located in the northern wastes of Nosgoth, the land in which the Legacy of Kain series takes place. It is located close to the frozen cliffs where, in the Blood Omen era, Malek's Bastion stood. of Charn is not only appalling; it is Ayesha's story in Haggard. Jadis describes a ghastly civil war with her sister:
"It was my sister's fault," said the Queen. "She drove me to it. May the curses of all the Powers rest upon her forever! At any moment I was ready to make peace--yes, and to spare her life too, if only she would yield me the throne. But she would not. Her pride has destroyed the whole world." (53)
Jadis echoes the ranting Napoleon of Lewis' own The Great Divorce, restlessly pacing up and down and blaming everyone else (but never himself) for his troubles. Both are egoists on a scale scarcely imaginable for ordinary people. Jadis goes on to describe an apocalyptic battle--"The last great battle," she says, in a phrase that gives us the title of the last book in the Narnia series--one of several links between the beginning and the end of the series:
The accursed woman, my sister, at the head of her rebels was half way up those great stairs that lead up from the city to the terrace. Then I waited till we were so close that we could see one another's faces. She flashed her horrible, wicked eyes upon me and said, `Victory.' `Yes,' said I, `Victory, but not yours.' (54)
This scene again has its counterpart in Ayesha. As I mentioned earlier, the action of Ayesha is divided between a large decadent city on the plain (perhaps with overtones of the doomed "cities on the plain" in Genesis), ruled by the beautiful Khania, and a mountain ruled by Ayesha. Ayesha pointedly refers to the Khania as "Sister" (70). In an earlier life they had been rivals for the same man; and we learn that they have also been terrible political rivals. The Khania finally wages war against Ayesha. Again, the vision of marching up a terrace to a final confrontation is prominent, and, as in The Magician's Nephew, apocalyptic overtones are felt: "I thought the end of the world had come" declares Horace (240). Ayesha, like Jadis, turns the tables on her sister-enemy, and in the end declares, "Think not that I am conquered, for now my name is Victory!" (258).
The final pages of Ayesha are intensely apocalyptic. Ayesha declares that "Beyond the night the royal suns ride on; ever the rainbow shines around the rain. Though they slip from our clutching hands like melted snow, the lives we lose shall yet be found immortal" (257). This vision of life eternal, life beyond death, again recalls the close of The Last Battle, where all the characters are, technically speaking, dead. Ayesha's final words include the haunting metaphor of a book, which picks up the great final words of the Gospel according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. St. John: "Think not that Ayesha's strength is spent or her tale is done, for of it thou readest but a single page" (258). Likewise, Lewis uses a book metaphor in the closing words of The Last Battle: "their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page" (174).
These references indicate the important difference between Jadis and her prototype Ayesha: Ayesha is not the embodiment of evil that Jadis is. But before we ponder this point, we need to return to The Magician's Nephew and note a few other connections. At the climax of one of the most exciting scenes in the Narnia books, Jadis, the Queen of Chain, confronts the London mob; she is seated on the horse that is to become Fledge fledge
v. fledged, fledg·ing, fledg·es
1. To take care of (a young bird) until it is ready to fly.
2. To cover with or as if with feathers.
3. the flying horse in Narnia:
Then for the first time the Witch spoke. "Dog!" came her cold, clear voice, ringing loud above all the other noises. "Dog, unhand our royal charger. We are the Empress Jadis." (80)
Jadis echoes the practice of her prototype Ayesha, who also ringingly and contemptuously addresses inferiors as "Dog" (Ayesha 126). Apart from giving a model for Jadis, Ayesha also offered hints for the great vision of Creation that follows the tricks, posturing, and struggles of Jadis, Uncle Andrew, Polly, and Digory in The Magician's Nephew. When the children succeed in getting Jadis out of London--and by accident the cabbie cab·by or cab·bie
n. pl. cab·bies
[cab1 + -y3. , his horse, and Uncle Andrew too--they find themselves at the very beginning of Narnia, witnesses standing in "Nothing," as the Witch puts it (85)--the uncreated. The creation is performed, that is musically performed, for Asian paces back and forth "singing," but as Digory realizes, this is beyond singing:
There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. (87)
The singing continues. Light, stars, and living things Living Things may refer to:
v. tin·gled, tin·gling, tin·gles
1. To have a prickling, stinging sensation, as from cold, a sharp slap, or excitement: tingled all over with joy. , silvery voices" ). Lewis emphasizes the variety, range, and complexity of this music of creation, as it conjures up the whole range of created beings.
There is a curiously similar scene in Ayesha. Leo and Holly, perched in utter darkness on a rock, see a mysterious flare appear and disappear, leaving them in a void: "everything vanished" (171), like the "Nothing" in Nephew. What follows is mystic music, then the dawn, and an astonishing spectacle:
Then it was that the wondrous music came ... its quality was quite different to any that I heard in the temple before or afterwards: to any indeed that ever I heard upon the earth. I cannot describe it, but it was awful to listen to, yet most entrancing. From the black, smoke-veiled pit where the fire had burned it welled and echoed--now a single heavenly voice, now a sweet chorus, and now an air-shaking thunder as of a hundred organs played to time. That diverse and majestic harmony seemed to include, to express every human emotion ... in its all-embracing scope and range, this, the song of paean ... power, passion, suffering, mystery and loveliness. (171)
The Magician's Nephew takes the violent proclivities of Ayesha as its inspiration for the doings of Jadis, but Ayesha also furnishes hints for another aspect of The Magician's Nephew, the spirit music that brings light out of darkness, and the wonderful spectacles of peoples and nations that Ayesha is able to spread out before Leo and Horace, spectacles which appear in a number of places in Ayesha. If these elements of Ayesha inspired The Magician's Nephew, then some of Lewis' most daring artistry--the Creation in The Magician's Nephew and the Apocalypse in The Last Battle--derived from what Lewis instinctively perceived in Haggard. He saw things there that others would not. It is a remarkable tribute to Haggard as an artist, for it indicates the creative potential and power in the earlier writer.
C. S. Lewis began reading Haggard as a schoolboy; "he was still reading Haggard with enjoyment at the end of his life" (Green and Hooper 27). In the 1930s, Lewis wrote to Arthur Greeves that he had re-read "both She and the sequel Ayesha, and found the story good in both: what troubles one is the v. silly talk put into She's mouth, which is meant to be profound. You feel that she has made very ill use of her opportunities" (Hooper, ed. 411). He even speaks of being "persuaded into going to King Kong King Kong
giant ape brought to New York as “eighth wonder of world.” [Am. Cinema: Payton, 367]
See : Giantism because it sounded the sort of Rider Haggardish thing that has always exercised a spell over me" (461). Lewis's final, unfinished novel was about Helen of Troy--a Haggard subject. Indeed, Haggard co-wrote a romance on the topic entitled The World's Desire with Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang (March 31 1844, Selkirk – July 20 1912, Banchory, Kincardineshire) was a prolific Scots man of letters. ("a good blend!" Lewis observed [Hooper, ed. 247]). Shortly before he died, Lewis expressed a wish to find in heaven a new "trilogy of romances" by Haggard (Lindskoog 88), and, in a 1960 review of Morton Cohen's biography of Haggard, Lewis summed up what Haggard meant to him:
Haggard's best work will survive because it is based on an appeal well above high-water mark. The fullest tide of fashion cannot demolish it. A great myth is relevant as long as the predicament of humanity lasts.(2)
The word "myth" is the key here. Haggard had the quality of the mythical, regardless of literary, stylistic or other merits (or demerits). In Lewis' important if neglected study, An Experiment in Criticism, he spelled out in greater detail what he meant by "myth," a term which had a technical meaning for Lewis, and while it is difficult to summarize his conception, the word "numinous" comes close to doing so. That is, the mythical conveys a quality of the magical, the awe-inspiring--it is something that cannot be forgotten, but that persists to the point of shaping one's subsequent imagination. Those who admire Lewis find this quality in his fiction (just as he found it in George Macdonald and Rider Haggard), and I believe it is this quality of his work that has ensured a continuing and devoted readership--including readers who either have a very different kind of Christianity from Lewis', or are not Christians at all. His images are magical.
For Lewis, Haggard excelled in creating great "myth," but Haggard today is peculiarly unfashionable. Thus, two of the most influential feminist critics, Sandra Gilbert Dr. Sandra M. Gilbert (born 1936), Professor Emerita of English at the University of California, Davis, is an influential literary critic and poet who has published widely in the fields of feminist literary criticism, feminist theory, and psychoanalytic criticism. and Susan Gubar Dr. Susan M. Gubar (born 1944) is a Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies. She has taught at Indiana University for more than twenty years. She is co-author with Dr. , open the second volume of No Man's Land with an all-out attack on Haggard. Thus Haggard combined "anxious xenophobia Xenophobia
Chinese rising aimed at ousting foreign interlopers (1900). [Chinese Hist. " (40) with misogyny misogyny /mi·sog·y·ny/ (mi-soj´i-ne) hatred of women.
Hatred of women.
mi·sog , and treated "women and colonized peoples" as "analogically an·a·log·i·cal
Of, expressing, composed of, or based on an analogy: the analogical use of a metaphor.
an a single group" (41). The evidence they focus on is the death of Ayesha in She, which they regard as a public humiliation Public humiliation was often used by local communities to punish minor and petty criminals before the age of large, modern prisons (imprisonment was long unusual as a punishment, rather a method of coercion). of Ayesha. What happens in She is that the flame of life that was to immortalize im·mor·tal·ize
tr.v. im·mor·tal·ized, im·mor·tal·iz·ing, im·mor·tal·iz·es
To make immortal.
im·mor her kills her instead. For Gilbert and Gubar, the scene is especially sexist: it is "not just ... the death of a mortal woman but ... the annihilation of the goddess, the deconstruction of even the idea of the goddess," because of "the secret fear that really energizes Haggard's fantasy," namely terror of female power over men (21). William J. Scheick is even harsher, denouncing Haggard's "imperialist romance": "Just what accounts for the long-lived popularity of [King Solomon's Mines] over the last hundred years may finally elude us" (19), but "At the core of his novel is a joke that yokes male adolescent pornographic fantasies with the misogynist and imperialistic impulses of Haggard's imagined audience of 'big and little boys'" (20). Ultimately, these stories are reduced to "the male fantasy of conquering the female body, a fantasy mingling misogyny and imperialism" (21). There is no trace here of appreciation for what Lewis calls the "mythical" aspect of Haggard, which, even if Haggard suffers from sexism and misogyny, would at least have some mitigating value.
A more balanced though not entirely sympathetic analysis is given by Kath Filmer (88-131 and 53-87). Still, Haggard's views of women are far more complex than Gilbert and Gubar argue. This point is worth dwelling on for a moment, because Lewis has been a target of imputations similar to those leveled against Haggard. In Norman Etherington's words, "Haggard's Ayesha ... remains the most durably popular of all his characters.... Whatever his defects as a literary craftsman, he explored a greater range of important questions concerning women's sexuality and women's role in a male dominated society than almost any male author of his time" (90). After analyzing the evidence, Lloyd Siemens rejects the now standard view, which he sums up as follows: "It has become the critical fashion over the past decade or so to identify in the writings of both Haggard and Kipling the strains of an aggressive imperialism rooted in racism" (156).
Lewis himself has been denounced in vitriolic terms, accused of misogyny and racism (for example in his treatment of the dark-skinned Calormenes in the Narnia books). But as in the case of Haggard, the imputation IMPUTATION. The judgment by which we declare that an agent is the cause of his free action, or of the result of it, whether good or ill. Wolff, Sec. 3. is at best an oversimplification o·ver·sim·pli·fy
v. o·ver·sim·pli·fied, o·ver·sim·pli·fy·ing, o·ver·sim·pli·fies
To simplify to the point of causing misrepresentation, misconception, or error.
v.intr. and at worst a slander. For example, it is the females who typically show the most sense in Lewis' stories, not the males. Lucy makes the point clearly enough in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: "That's the worst of doing anything with boys. You're all such swaggering, bullying idiots" (119). The theme of the absurdity, even danger and immorality, of male swaggering/bullying runs all through the Narnia books, from the moment when Digory hurts Polly, cruelly forcing her aside so that he can ring the bell that will bring Jadis into the world, to the foolish egoism egoism (ē`gōĭzəm), in ethics, the doctrine that the ends and motives of human conduct are, or should be, the good of the individual agent. It is opposed to altruism, which holds the criterion of morality to be the welfare of others. of Bree in The Horse and His Boy (not to mention the violent hubris Hubris
An arrogance due to excessive pride and an insolence toward others. A classic character flaw of a trader or investor. of Rabadash), to the explicitly marked "rashness" of King Tirian in The Last Battle who ignores the good advice given him (12-26). Polly calls Digory "a cowardly bully" among other well-deserved things in The Magician's Nephew (66). The occasionally sexist rhetoric in Lewis has to be weighed against his plot-configurations, which demonstrate the opposite. As for possible racism (the dark-skinned Calormenes), one notices that two of the most memorable and appealing characters in the Narnia books are Calormenes: the deeply spiritual Emeth in The Last Battle, the most spiritual human being in all the Narnia books, and Aravis in The Horse and His Boy. Nor should one forget Lasaraleen in the same book, a figure of great charm who ultimately saves Aravis.
In Lewis, imagination takes precedence over ideology, and sexist elements are outweighed by something more important: we return to the idea of the "mythical" which Lewis found in Haggard and which we in turn find in Lewis. The "mythical" is fundamentally the power to create strong images in the reader's imagination, mind-expanding images that resonate and remain long after they are first encountered. Lewis' one, brilliant attempt to explain the process of creation is tantalizingly tan·ta·lize
tr.v. tan·ta·lized, tan·ta·liz·ing, tan·ta·liz·es
To excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach. brief, but focuses on the power of such images: "It All Started with a Picture," published in 1960 (rpt. in Of This and Other Worlds 78-79; cf. 71-73). Here the creative seed is mental images of unusual power and persistence. But these images are not simply "made up"--they come from somewhere. Lewis himself talks about the way images came to him and how his stories consisted of the connecting of these "given" images. This connecting activity is part of what I mean by the scholarship of imagination, the recognition of how and where certain images fit together, or need to be modified so as to play their part in a new creation, the perception of potential developments in seemingly unimportant features of other writers. Thus Ayesha in Haggard was absorbed and transmuted by Lewis for his stories. But the same process can be observed even within Haggard's work, for Ayesha was absorbed/transmuted by Haggard himself. Ayesha in effect evolves from She (1887) to Ayesha (1905) eighteen years later. The early She is violent and proud to the point of mania. The later She is a richer character, both more human--and more divine. In Ayesha She is not evil, though she can be violent and proud. Indeed, Ayesha becomes the priestess of a religion whose central tenet is "Humanity saved by the Divine" (Ayesha 140), but here the Divine is visualized in female terms: the primacy of the female is conspicuous. The sculpture that symbolizes salvation in the story is that of a mother and child--a significant difference from the Christian symbolism Christian symbolism is the use of actions or objects to represent the central concepts of the Christian faith, either as a reminder of those concepts or as a way of spiritually connecting with the underlying concept or act. of Lewis. Lewis discarded both the positive developments of the character of She and also the female-centered religious vision implicit in Adj. 1. implicit in - in the nature of something though not readily apparent; "shortcomings inherent in our approach"; "an underlying meaning"
underlying, inherent Ayesha. Gilbert and Gubar notwithstanding, it is the women who have the real power in Haggard's romances, while the men tend to wriggle around them to get what they want; likewise, it is the alien cultures of Africa and of Tibet that have something to teach the English adventurers, not the reverse. Nevertheless, traces of this positive Ayesha can be glimpsed even in the wicked Jadis--her bravery for example (The Magician's Nephew 71) and her beauty and exuberant vitality: "She looked ten times more alive than most of the people one meets in London" (61).(3)
Thus, not only does the scholarship of imagination encompass the way a writer like Lewis picks up images and plot motifs from his reading and then, after a period of time, transmutes, rearranges, and develops these images and motifs. It also encompasses the fact that these images and motifs have as it were a life of their own, evolving from writer to writer, and even within writers. How often writers speak of their characters as if they were alive, of not knowing how the story will turn out, and of carrying on with the story in order to find out. This is partly what Lewis' haunting comments about images "coming" to him is really about: the sense that certain literary elements--certain imaginative experiences--have a life of their own, to stimulate the creative scholarship of the imagination of which C. S. Lewis was a great master--and to stimulate our own.
(1) Quoted in Glassman 292; cf. Roger Lancelyn Green Roger (Gilbert) Lancelyn Green (2 November 1918 – 8 October 1987) was a British biographer and children's writer.
Lancelyn Green studied under C. S. Lewis at Merton College, Oxford, where he obtained a B.Litt. degree. , a friend of Lewis: "the highest peak she was to reach, The Enchanted Castle (1907), the most completely satisfactory and most coherently plotted of all E. Nesbit's full-length books" (Green 212).
(2) Pocock quotes these lines in his biographical study of Rider Haggard (245). The whole review by Lewis has been most recently reprinted in Of This and Other Worlds (1982) under the title "The Mythopoeic myth·o·poe·ic or myth·o·pe·ic also myth·o·po·et·ic
1. Of or relating to the making of myths.
2. Serving to create or engender myths; productive in mythmaking. Gift of Rider Haggard" (128-32). Lewis closes this review with a curiously prescient pre·scient
1. Of or relating to prescience.
2. Possessing prescience.
[French, from Old French, from Latin praesci meditation on the "vindictiveness" of "adverse critics": "Haggard will last, but so will the hatred of Haggard" (131).
(3) Ayesha also appears to have inspired Till We Have Faces; the terrible ordeals that Ayesha undergoes (190-91) are echoed in the ordeals of Orual and Psyche in Till We Have Faces. A more obvious connection, perhaps, is the use of images and motifs from King Solomon's Mines in Voyage to Venus. Mines builds to a terrifying entombment underground, with a subsequent subterranean journey led by air and water currents. Symbolically, this journey is a birth sequence, a journey through and out of the female body, with its magic treasures and dangers. Similarly, Ransom in Voygage to Venus is apparently buried alive, and then led out through a subterranean maze of passageways--again he is guided through the darkness by air and water currents. His escape is a rebirth, and implies the female body of "Venus" itself--or herself.
Crago, Hugh. "Such Was Chain, that Great City." Children's Literature Quarterly 19.1 (Spring 1994): 41-45.
Crouch, Marcus. Treasure Seekers and Borrowers. London: Library Association, 1962.
Etherington, Norman. Rider Haggard. Boston: Twayne, 1984.
Filmer, Kath. The Fiction of C. S. Lewis: Mask and Mirror. New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : St. Martin's St. Martin's or St. Martins may refer to:
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 2: Sexchanges. New Haven New Haven, city (1990 pop. 130,474), New Haven co., S Conn., a port of entry where the Quinnipiac and other small rivers enter Long Island Sound; inc. 1784. Firearms and ammunition, clocks and watches, tools, rubber and paper products, and textiles are among the many : Yale UP, 1989.
Glassman, Peter. Afterword to The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. New York: Morrow, 1992. 289-92.
Green, Roger L., and Walter Hooper Walter McGehee Hooper (born 1931) is a trustee and literary advisor of the estate of C.S. Lewis. Born in Reidsville, North Carolina, he earned an M.A. in education and was an instructor in English at the University of Kentucky in the early 1960s. . C. S. Lewis: A Biography. London: Collins, 1974.
Haggard, H. Rider. Ayesha. 1905; London: W.H. Allen, 1986.
--. King Solomon's Mines. 1885; London: Macdonald, 1956.
--. She. London: Longmans, Green, 1887.
Hooper, Walter, ed. They Stand Together: The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves 1914-1963. London: Collins, 1979.
Howes, Mary Ruth. "Of Children and Magic Worlds (Part I)" CSL (Computerese as a Second Language) Said of people who love to speak high-tech words even though they often use them erroneously. See TLA.
1. CSL - Computer Structure Language. A computer hardware description language, written in BCPL. : The Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society 20.4 (Feb. 1989): 1-7.
--. "Of Children and Magic Worlds (Part II)." CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society 20.5 (Mar. 1989): 1-5.
Lewis, C. S. The Horse and His Boy. New York: Macmillan, 1954.
--. The Last Battle. New York: Macmillan, 1956.
--. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. New York: Macmillan, 1950.
--. The Magician's Nephew. New York: Macmillan, 1954.
--. Of This and Other Worlds. Ed. Walter Hooper. London: Collins, 1982.
--. Prince Caspian. New York: Macmillan, 1952.
--. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. New York: Macmillan, 1953.
Lindskoog, Kathryn. "Reactions from Other Women." In Search of C. S. Lewis. Ed. S. Schofield. South Plainfield South Plainfield, borough (1990 pop. 20,489), Middlesex co., NE N.J.; inc. 1926. It is the seat of several research and consulting firms and has plants that make chemicals, plastics, spices and flavorings, cosmetics, rubber products, pigments, electrical machinery, NJ: Bridge, 1983. 77-88.
Nesbit, E. The Enchanted Castle. 1907; London: Ernest Benn Sir Ernest John Pickstone Benn, 2nd Baronet (25 June, 1875 - 17 January, 1954) was a prolific British publicist. He was an uncle of the Labour politician Tony Benn.
Benn was born in Oxted, Surrey. , 1956.
--. Long Ago When I Was Young. New York: Franklin Watts, 1966.
--. The Story of the Amulet. 1906; Harmondworth: Penguin, 1959.
Nicholson, Mervyn. "Bram Stoker and C. S. Lewis: Where the Hideous Strength Came From." Mythlore 19.3 (Summer 1993): 16-22.
--. "What C. S. Lewis Took from E. Nesbit." Children's Literature Quarterly 16.1 (Spring 1991): 16-22.
Pocock, Tom. Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire. London: Weidenfeld, 1993.
Scheick, William J. "Adolescent Pornography and Imperialism in Haggard's King Solomon's Mines." English Literature English literature, literature written in English since c.1450 by the inhabitants of the British Isles; it was during the 15th cent. that the English language acquired much of its modern form. in Transition 34.1 (1991): 19-30.
Seimens, Lloyd. "Rider Haggard's Neglected Journal: `Diary of an African Visit'." English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 37.2 (1994): 155-161.
Mervyn Nicholson, formerly Chair of English and Modern Languages at University College of the Cariboo in British Columbia British Columbia, province (2001 pop. 3,907,738), 366,255 sq mi (948,600 sq km), including 6,976 sq mi (18,068 sq km) of water surface, W Canada. Geography
, has published articles on Lewis in Children's Literature Quarterly and Mythlore. His articles have also appeared in College English, Comparative Drama, Modern Drama, The Journal of the History of Ideas The history of ideas is a field of research in history that deals with the expression, preservation, and change of human ideas over time. The history of ideas is a sister-discipline to, or a particular approach within, intellectual history. , Recherches Semiotiques/Semiotic Inquiry, and many others.