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ENGB35H3 Lecture Notes - Lux, Mr. Tumnus, On Fairy-Stories

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Natalie Rose

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ENGB35 March 13, 2013
Christian fantasy
Some Christians may not approve of this book, despite Christian overtones, because it
had fantasy.
However, Lewis, while Christian, did not like the institutionalization of religion.
He had some romantic ideals.
“a sort of pre-baptism of the imagination… [that would] make it easier for children to
accept Christianity when they met it later in life.” (Lewis)
"I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had
paralysed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as
one was told one ought to feel about God or the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief
reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings.
And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices;
almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things
into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday School
associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could
one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could."
- Lewis, “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What‟s to be Said.”
“Joy” – existential happiness
Lewis was converted to Christianity by Tolkien
Story of Christ “begins and ends in joy” (Tolkien “On Fairy-Stories”)
Dyscastrophe (sorrow, loss) Eucatastrophe (sudden happy ending that
follows from Dyscatrophe
o catastrophe: turn (in drama)
Tolkien on eucatastrophe: “When the sudden „turn comes we get a piercing glimpse of
joy, and heart‟s desire, that for a moment passes outside the frame… and lets a gleam
come through.”
“[A] sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the
existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary
to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal
final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the
walls of the world, poignant as grief” (Tolkine, “On Fairy Stories”)
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