The Discarded Image

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature is non-fiction and the last book written by C. S. Lewis. It deals with medieval cosmology and the Ptolemaic universe, and portrays the medieval conception of a "model" of the world. This model formed "the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe."[1]

The Discarded Image
CSLewis TheDiscardedImage
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AuthorC. S. Lewis
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectLiterary criticism
PublisherCambridge University Press
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Media typehard & paperback


The book includes such concepts as the structure of the medieval universe, the nature of its inhabitants, the notion of a finite universe, ordered and maintained by a celestial hierarchy, and the ideas of nature. At the same time, Lewis takes his reader on a tour of some of the pinnacles of medieval thought (some of them inherited from Classical paganism) that have survived into the modern cultural and theological landscape.

The titles of the chapters are

  1. The Medieval Situation
  2. Reservations
  3. Selected Materials: The Classical Period
  4. Selected Materials: The Seminal Period
  5. The Heavens
  6. The "Longaevi"
  7. Earth and Her Inhabitants
  8. The Influence of the Model

"The Medieval Situation" and "Reservations"

Lewis begins by introducing the Middle Ages as a whole and by laying out the components that shaped their world view. This worldview, or "Model of the Universe", was shaped by two factors in particular: "the essentially bookish character of their culture, and their intense love of system".[2] The bookish character combines with the need for order: "All the apparent contradictions must be harmonised. A Model must be built which will get everything in without a clash; and it can do this only by becoming intricate, by mediating its unity through a great, and finely ordered, multiplicity."[2]

He is quick to point out the possible flaws he feels some may see in his conception. The "Model" is primarily based in art and literature. It does not account for historical changes in philosophic schools or serve as a general history of science or medicine. In addition, only bits and pieces of the Model served as part of the general backdrop of the age. And, above all, Lewis is clear to state that, "On the highest level, then, the Model was recognised as provisional. What we should like to know is how far down the intellectual scale this cautious view extended." [3]

"Selected Materials: The Classical Period"

Lewis provides summaries of the classical texts he believes most informed the medieval Model. He excludes the Bible, Virgil, and Ovid as texts that a student of medieval literature should already be familiar with. Among the texts he covers are

"Selected Materials: The Seminal Period"

Lewis refers to the seminal period as a transitional stage stretching from around 205 to 533 A.D. He spends some time discussing the pagans and Christians of this time, and notes that both were monotheists.[4]

As with the Classical period, he provides summaries of various texts, including:

He also mentions Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae and Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum Majus: "They are not, like those I have been describing, contributors to the Model, but they sometimes supply the handiest evidence as to what it was. Both are encyclopaedists."[4]

"The Heavens"

"In medieval science the fundamental concept was that of certain sympathies, antipathies, and strivings inherent in the matter itself. Everything has its right place, its home, the region that suits it, and, if not forcibly restrained, moves thither by a sort of homing instinct", a "kindly enclyning" to their '"kindly stede".[5]

In his exploration of the Heavens, Lewis works to explain much of the basics of medieval cosmology. He begins by explaining the phenomenon of "kindly enclyning": everything returns to the place from which it is drawn. Lewis goes on to answer the question that may arise in response to "kindly enclyning" and that is: "[Did] medieval thinkers really believe that what we now call inanimate objects [possess] sentient and purposive [qualities]"? The answer was "in general", no. Lewis says "in general" because "they attributed life and even intelligence to one privileged class of objects (the stars)...But full blown Panpsychism ... was not held by anyone before Camponella (1568-1639)". In support, Lewis describes the "four grades of terrestrial reality: mere existence (as in stones), existence with growth (as in vegetables), existence and growth with sensation (as in beasts), and all these with reason (as in men)". According to Lewis, "To talk as if inanimate bodies had a homing instinct is to bring them no nearer to us than pigeons; to talk as if they could 'obey' laws is to treat them like men and even like citizens".[6] In the medieval conception, everything was made up of the Four Contraries: hot, cold, moist, and dry. These combine to give us the Four Elements: "The union of hot and dry becomes fire; that of hot and moist, air; of cold and moist, water; of cold and dry, earth."[7] There is also a fifth element, aether, that humans do not experience. In the sublunary world, all the elements have sorted themselves out: "Earth, the heaviest, has gathered itself together at the centre. On it lies the lighter water; above that, the still lighter air. Fire, the lightest of all, whenever it was free, has flown up to the circumference of Nature and forms a sphere just below the orbit of the Moon."[7]

He then briefly summarizes the Ptolemaic universe: "The central spherical Earth is surrounded by a series of hollow and transparent globes ... These are the 'spheres', 'heavens' ... Fixed in each of the first seven spheres is one luminous body. Starting from Earth, the order is the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn; the 'seven planets'. Beyond the sphere of Saturn is the Stellatum, to which belong all the stars that we still call 'fixed' because their positions to one another are ... invariable. Beyond the Stellatum" there is a sphere called the First Moveable or Primum Mobile ... its existence was inferred to account for the motions of the others."[8]

All motion moved in order from the top to the bottom: from God to the Primum Mobile to the Stellatum to each lower sphere. The spheres also transmitted Influences to the Earth. Here, Lewis takes up the question of astrology in the Middle Ages. He notes that within the Medieval mind the universe was finite, that it was of a perfect spherical shape containing within itself an ordered variety. Lewis states that while a modern mind might gaze into the sky and interpret vast nothingness, a person living within the Middle Ages would be able to admire it as one might admire grand architecture. He concludes that while modern astronomy "may arouse terror, or bewilderment, or vague reverie; the spheres of the old present us with an object in which the mind can rest, overwhelming in its greatness but satisfying in its harmony."[9] He asserts that these observations reveal a key difference between the present and past, that the modern conception of the universe is romantic while the Medieval conception classical. He also goes on to discuss the strange persistence of certain pagan ideas, such as the deification of the planets. He talks about each's influence, metals, and character.

"The Longaevi"

The Longaevi, or "long-livers", are those creatures which might be called "fairies." Lewis gave them their own chapter because "their place of residence is ambiguous between air and Earth."[10] That is to say, he really couldn't find another section in the book that they'd fit into, so he just gave them their own place. Lewis sees the word fairies as "tarnished by pantomime and bad children's books with worse illustrations."[11] Lewis writes of the various creatures in the Middle Ages: fearsome, fair, and the separate beings known as the High Fairies. He then shares four theories or attempts to fit them into the Model:

  1. They could be a third species, distinct from angels and men.
  2. They are angels who have been "demoted", so to speak
  3. They are the dead, or at least, a special class of the dead
  4. They are fallen angels (devils)

"Such were the efforts to find a socket into which the Fairies would fit. No agreement was achieved. As long as the Fairies remained at all they remained evasive."[12]

"Earth and Her Inhabitants"

In this penultimate chapter, Lewis talks about various facets of Earth, and how they fit into the Model.

The Earth

Everything below the moon is mutable and subject to the influences of the spheres. While the other planets have Intelligences (deities) associated with them, the Earth was not believed to have one since she did not move and so did not require guidance. Dante was the first to suggest an Intelligence for her: Fortune. "Fortune, to be sure does not steer the Earth through an orbit; she fulfills the office of an Intelligence in the mode proper for a stationary globe."[13]

Despite popular modern conception, the people of the Middle Ages were quite aware that the Earth was spherical. Lewis believes that the misconception may arise from the mappemounde, which represent the Earth as a circle or disc.[14] The purpose of these maps was more romantic than practical, and was not meant to serve the practical purposes of navigation.


In regards to the knowledge of zoology as it appears in the bestiary tradition, Lewis argues that "as there was a practical geography which had nothing to do with the mappemounde, so there was a practical zoology that had nothing to do with the Bestiaries."[15] Lewis sees the bestiaries as an example of encyclopaedic pulling from auctores that he sees as characteristic of the Middle Ages. The focus was on the collection and on the moralitas the animals provided.

The Human Soul

Speaking of man, Lewis writes: "Man is a rational animal, and therefore a composite being, partly akin to the angels who are rational but ... not animal, and partly akin to the beasts which are animal but not rational. This gives us one of the senses in which he is the 'little world' or microcosm. Every mode of being in the whole universe contributes to him; he is a cross-section of being."[16] The soul of such a creature is likewise a cross-section. There are three kinds of Souls: the Vegetable Soul, the Sensitive Soul, and the Rational Soul. To explain, Lewis writes:

"The powers of Vegetable Soul are nutrition, growth, and propagation. It alone is present in plants. Sensitive Soul, which we find in animals, has these powers but has sentience in addition. ... Rational Soul similarly includes Vegetable and Sensitive, and adds reason."[16]

Rational Soul

The Rational soul is the third level above the Vegetable and Sensitive Soul. The Vegetable Soul is present in plants and gives the powers of nutrition, growth, and propagation. The Sensitive Soul gives beasts these and the addition of sentience. So we see in the Rational Soul in man, all of the previous abilities with the addition of reason. In other words, man possesses all of the powers of all three soul types or--"though misleadingly", three souls.[17] The Rational Soul exercises two faculties: Intellectus and Ratio. Lewis characterizes the difference thus: "We are enjoying intellectus when we 'just see' a self-evident truth; we are exercising ratio when we proceed step by step to prove a truth which is not self-evident."[18]

Sensitive and Vegetable Soul

In the Sensitive Soul, Lewis distinguishes ten Senses or Wits, five "inward" and five "outward". Sometimes the outward are simply called "senses" and the inward "wits". The five outward are what are now known as the Five Senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The inward are memory, estimation, imagination, phantasy, and common wit (or common sense).[19]

"There is no need to write a separate section on the Vegetable Soul," Lewis writes. "It is responsible for all the unconscious, involuntary processes in our organism: for growth, secretion, nutrition, and reproduction."[20]

Soul and Body

When the relationship between soul and body is studied, Lewis points out two ways in which the medieval thinker would address this. First, "How can the soul, conceived as an immaterial substance, act on matter at all?" and second, "It is not possible to passe from one extreme to another but by a meane." In other words, how does the soul, a substance without matter act on one of matter, and how does it pass between two extremes of being without a meane? Lewis suggests this would be explained through "supply [of] a "tertium quid...[a] phantom liason-officer between body and soul [which] was called spirit...or spirits." these spirits were material enough to act on the body and "fine and attenuated" enough to be acted upon by the immaterial soul.[21] gumphus" responsible for keeping body and soul together was called Spirit. It helped explain how the immaterial Soul was able to work upon the physical body.[22]

The Human Body

The four contraries, which in the world come together to form elements, combine within the body to create the Humours. The predominance of specific Humours creates specific temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. "The proportion in which the Humours are blended differs from one man to another and constitutes his complexio or temperamentum, his combination or mixture."[23]

Man is classified into these four categories, based on which temperament is most dominant in him. There is the Sanguine complexion, the best of the four. "The Sanguine man's anger is easily roused but shortlived; he is a trifle peppery, but not sullen or vindictive."[24] Second, there is the Choleric man. "Like the Sanguine, he is easily moved to anger... ...But, unlike the Sanguine, the Choleric are vindictive."[25] Third, there is the Melancholy. "Today I think we should describe the Melancholy as neurotic. I mean, the Melancholy man of the Middle Ages."[26] Finally, there is the Phlegmatic, which Lewis considered to be the worst of the four. "The phlegmatic boy or girl, fat, pale, sluggish, dull, is the despair of parents and teachers; by others, either made a butt or simply unnoticed."[27]

The Human Past

"Medieval historians ... are a mixed collection. Some of them...have the scientific approach and are critical of their sources."[28] But it is not the accuracy we are after. Rather, it is "the picture of the past".[28] In the Middle Ages, then, the purpose of recording history, or as we know today the term "historiography," was "to entertain our imagination, to gratify our curiosity, and to discharge a debt we owe our ancestors".[29]

"Historically as well as cosmically, medieval man stood at the foot of a stairway: looking up, he felt delighted. The backward, like the upward, glance exhilarated him with a majestic spectacle, and humility was rewarded with the pleasure of admiration."[30]

The Seven Liberal Arts

The Seven Liberal Arts are Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and Astronomy.[31] Lewis goes on to write in more detail concerning each art, describing exactly how and why it was so important for a medieval education. "The first three constitute the Trivium or threefold way" and as such are connected to one another in some form. For example, Grammar and Dialectic are a progression. "Having learned from Grammar how to talk, we must learn from Dialectic how to talk sense, argue, to prove and disprove. Rhetoric, prior to the medieval period was "not so much the loveliest as the most practical of the arts. By the middle ages, it has become literary...There is no antithesis, indeed no distinction, between Rhetoric and Poetry".[32]

The Influence of the Model

Lewis concludes by highlighting the impact the Model had on the literature and art of the era. "Poets and other artists depicted these things because their minds loved to dwell on them. Other ages have not had a Model so universally accepted as theirs, so imaginable and so satisfying to the imagination."[33]

Selected reviews

Most reviews of the book were positive:

  • "Wise, illuminating, companionable, it may well come to be seen as Lewis’s best book." The Observer[1]
  • "the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind."[1]

However, some reviewers have noted Lewis' "tendency to oversimplify...and to overcategorize"[34]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Lewis, Clive Staples (1995), The Discarded Image, Cambridge University Press, back cover.
  2. ^ a b Lewis 1994, p. 11.
  3. ^ Lewis, C.S. (2014). The Discarded Image. United Kingdom: Cambridge University. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-107-60470-4.
  4. ^ a b Lewis 1994, p. 46.
  5. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 92.
  6. ^ Lewis, C.S. (2014). The Discarded Image (4th ed.). United Kingdom: Cambridge. pp. 93–94.
  7. ^ a b Lewis 1994, p. 95.
  8. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 96.
  9. ^ Lewis 2013, p. 99.
  10. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 122.
  11. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 123.
  12. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 138.
  13. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 139.
  14. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 142.
  15. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 146.
  16. ^ a b Lewis 1994, p. 153.
  17. ^ Lewis, C.S (2013). The Discarded Image. UK: Cambridge Press. p. 153.
  18. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 157.
  19. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 162.
  20. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 165.
  21. ^ lewis, C.S. (2014). The Discarded Image. UK: Cambridge. pp. 166–167.
  22. ^ Lewis, 1994, p.167
  23. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 170.
  24. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 171.
  25. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 171-172.
  26. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 172.
  27. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 173.
  28. ^ a b Lewis, 1994, pg.177
  29. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 177.
  30. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 185.
  31. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 186.
  32. ^ Lewis, C.S. (2014). The Discarded Image. UK: Cambridge. pp. 188–191.
  33. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 203.
  34. ^ Bloomfield, Morton W. (Apr 1965). "The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature by C. S. Lewis- Review". Speculum. 40 (2): 354–356. doi:10.2307/2855580. JSTOR 2855580.


External links

A Preface to Paradise Lost

A Preface to Paradise Lost is one of C. S. Lewis's most famous scholarly works. The book had its genesis in Lewis's Ballard Matthews Lectures which he delivered at the University College of North Wales in 1941.

Boxen (C. S. Lewis)

Boxen is a fictional world that C. S. Lewis ("Jack") and his brother W. H. Lewis ("Warren") created as children. The world of Boxen was created when Jack's stories about Animal-Land and Warnie's stories about India were brought together. In Surprised by Joy, Jack explains that the union of Animal-Land and India took place "sometime in the late eighteenth century (their eighteenth century, not ours)".During a time when influenza was ravaging many families, the Lewis brothers were forced to stay indoors and entertain themselves by reading. They read whatever books they could find, both those written for children and adults. Influenced by Beatrix Potter's animals, C.S. Lewis wrote about Animal-Land, complete with details about its economics, politics/government, and history, as well as illustrations of buildings and characters.

The stories were published posthumously as Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C. S. Lewis Edited by Walter Hooper and first published by London: Collins May 28, 1985. First American edition: San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Javanovich, October 17, 1985. (republished as Boxen: Childhood Chronicles Before Narnia).

C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925–1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954–1963). He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptised in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian apologists from many denominations.

In 1956, Lewis married American writer Joy Davidman; she died of cancer four years later at the age of 45. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 from renal failure, one week before his 65th birthday. In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Lewis was honoured with a memorial in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Celestial spheres

The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by Plato, Eudoxus, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, and others. In these celestial models, the apparent motions of the fixed stars and planets are accounted for by treating them as embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence), like jewels set in orbs. Since it was believed that the fixed stars did not change their positions relative to one another, it was argued that they must be on the surface of a single starry sphere.In modern thought, the orbits of the planets are viewed as the paths of those planets through mostly empty space. Ancient and medieval thinkers, however, considered the celestial orbs to be thick spheres of rarefied matter nested one within the other, each one in complete contact with the sphere above it and the sphere below. When scholars applied Ptolemy's epicycles, they presumed that each planetary sphere was exactly thick enough to accommodate them. By combining this nested sphere model with astronomical observations, scholars calculated what became generally accepted values at the time for the distances to the Sun (about 4 million miles), to the other planets, and to the edge of the universe (about 73 million miles). The nested sphere model's distances to the Sun and planets differ significantly from modern measurements of the distances, and the size of the universe is now known to be inconceivably large and continuously expanding.Albert Van Helden has suggested that from about 1250 until the 17th century, virtually all educated Europeans were familiar with the Ptolemaic model of "nesting spheres and the cosmic dimensions derived from it". Even following the adoption of Copernicus's heliocentric model of the universe, new versions of the celestial sphere model were introduced, with the planetary spheres following this sequence from the central Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth-Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Mainstream belief in the theory of celestial spheres did not survive the Scientific Revolution. In the early 1600s, Kepler continued to discuss celestial spheres, although he did not consider that the planets were carried by the spheres but held that they moved in elliptical paths described by Kepler's laws of planetary motion. In the late 1600s, Greek and medieval theories concerning the motion of terrestrial and celestial objects were replaced by Newton's law of universal gravitation and Newtonian mechanics, which explain how Kepler's laws arise from the gravitational attraction between bodies.


A fairy (also fata, fay, fey, fae, fair folk; from faery, faerie, "realm of the fays") is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore (and particularly Celtic, Slavic, German, English, and French folklore), a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources. Various folk theories about the origins of fairies include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as minor deities in pre-Christian Pagan belief systems, as spirits of the dead, as prehistoric precursors to humans, or as elementals.

The label of fairy has at times applied only to specific magical creatures with human appearance, small stature, magical powers, and a penchant for trickery. At other times it has been used to describe any magical creature, such as goblins and gnomes. Fairy has at times been used as an adjective, with a meaning equivalent to "enchanted" or "magical".

A recurring motif of legends about fairies is the need to ward off fairies using protective charms. Common examples of such charms include church bells, wearing clothing inside out, four-leaf clover, and food. Fairies were also sometimes thought to haunt specific locations, and to lead travelers astray using will-o'-the-wisps. Before the advent of modern medicine, fairies were often blamed for sickness, particularly tuberculosis and birth deformities.

In addition to their folkloric origins, fairies were a common feature of Renaissance literature and Romantic art, and were especially popular in the United Kingdom during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Celtic Revival also saw fairies established as a canonical part of Celtic cultural heritage.

Fantasy literature

Fantasy literature is literature set in an imaginary universe, often but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Magic, the supernatural and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds. It is a story that children and adults can read.

Fantasy is a subgenre of speculative fiction and is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes, respectively, though these genres overlap. Historically, most works of fantasy were written, however, since the 1960s, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games, music and art.

A number of fantasy novels originally written for children, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Harry Potter series and The Hobbit, also attract an adult audience.


A gnome is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century and later adopted by more recent authors including those of modern fantasy literature. Its characteristics have been reinterpreted to suit the needs of various story tellers, but it is typically said to be a small humanoid that lives underground.

Justice (virtue)

Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues in classical European philosophy and Roman Catholicism. It is the moderation or mean between selfishness and selflessness – between having more and having less than one's fair share.Justice is closely related, in Christianity, to the practice of Charity (virtue) because it regulates the relationships with others. It is a cardinal virtue, which is to say that it is "pivotal", because it regulates all such relationships, and is sometimes deemed the most important of the cardinal virtues.

Letters to Malcolm

Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer is a book by C.S. Lewis posthumously published in 1964. The book takes the form of a series of letters to a fictional friend, "Malcolm", in which Lewis meditates on prayer as an intimate dialogue between man and God. Beginning with a discussion of "corporate prayer" and the liturgical service, Lewis goes on to consider practical and metaphysical aspects of private prayer, such as when to pray and where, ready-made prayer, petitionary prayer, prayer as worship, penitential prayer, and prayer for the dead. The concluding letter discusses "liberal" Christians, the soul and resurrection.

Letters to Malcolm is generally thought to be one of Lewis's less successful books and differs from his other books on Christianity in that it poses a number of questions which Lewis does not attempt to answer. Lewis moreover shows a reluctance to be as critical of radical theologians such as Alec Vidler and John Robinson as his imaginary friend Malcolm wants him to be.

Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during the Second World War. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (Broadcast Talks in the UK) (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944). Lewis was invited to give the talks by James Welch, the BBC Director of Religious Broadcasting, who had read his 1940 book, The Problem of Pain.

Of Other Worlds

Of Other Worlds is a 1966 anthology of literary criticism by C. S. Lewis and published posthumously by the executors of his estate. It was edited by Lewis' secretary and eventual literary executor Walter Hooper. The first part of the anthology consists of several essays that cover Lewis' ideas about the creation of science fiction or fantasy literature. Unreal Estates is the transcript of a recorded conversation between Lewis and the authors Brian Aldiss and Kingsley Amis that took place in Lewis' rooms in Magdalene College "a short while before illness forced him to retire." The second part of the book is made up of three of Lewis' science fiction stories (one of which was previously unpublished) and the beginnings of After Ten Years, an unfinished novel set during the aftermath of the Trojan War.

Primum Mobile

In classical, medieval, and Renaissance astronomy, the Primum Mobile (or "first moved") was the outermost moving sphere in the geocentric model of the universe.The concept was introduced by Ptolemy to account for the apparent daily motion of the heavens around the Earth, producing the east-to-west rising and setting of the sun and stars, and reached Western Europe via Avicenna.

Richard Bovet

Richard Bovet (born c. 1641) was an English author of the 17th century who wrote Pandaemonium, or the Devil's Cloister (1684), a book on demonology.Bovet was virulently anti-Catholic, and his book often equates Catholicism with witchcraft. His work was influenced by that of Joseph Glanvill and Henry More.

Studies in Words

Studies in Words is a work of linguistic scholarship written by C. S. Lewis and published by the Cambridge University Press in 1960. In this book, Lewis examines the history of various words used in the English language which have changed their meanings often quite widely throughout the centuries. The meanings in the predecessor languages are also part of the discussion.

Lewis's motivation for writing the book was in explaining to students of the work of previous centuries that the definition of a word that they already think they know (his dangerous sense, which he abbreviates D.S.) may yield a total misunderstanding of what the author meant to say. Those who have a large vocabulary are actually more likely to pick a wrong meaning because they can rationalize its enjambment. Some of the earlier meanings are only partially recalled in stock phrases, such as "world without end," which employs the earlier use of the word "world" to mean 'age'.

The words studied are nature, in all its phrases, especially "human nature"; sad, which originally meant "heavy"; wit; free, with all its differences from slavery and villainy; sense, with its two meanings of perception and judgement; simple; conscience and conscious; world; and life; with also the phrase "I dare say!" examined. The details of the history of these seemingly straightforward words encompasses 300 pages.

Surprised by Joy

Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life is a partial autobiography published by C. S. Lewis in 1955. Specifically, the book describes the author's conversion to Christianity which had taken place 24 years earlier.

The Allegory of Love

For the group of paintings known by this title, see The Allegory of Love (Veronese).

The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (1936), by C. S. Lewis (ISBN 0192812203), is an exploration of the allegorical treatment of love in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which was released on May 21, 1936.

In the first chapter, Lewis traces the development of the idea of courtly love from the Provençal troubadours to its full development in the works of Chrétien de Troyes. It is here that he sets forth a famous characterization of "the peculiar form which it [courtly love] first took; the four marks of Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love"—the last two of which "marks" have, in particular, been the subject of a good deal of controversy among later scholars. In the second chapter, Lewis discusses the medieval evolution of the allegorical tradition in such writers as Bernard Silvestris and Alain de Lille.

The remaining chapters, drawing on the points made in the first two, examine the use of allegory in the depiction of love in a selection of poetic works, beginning with the Roman de la Rose. The focus, however, is on English works: the poems of Chaucer, Gower's Confessio Amantis and Usk's Testament of Love, the works of Chaucer's epigones, and Spenser's Faerie Queene.

The book is ornamented with quotations from poems in many languages, including Classical and Medieval Latin, Middle English, and Old French. The piquant English translations of many of these are Lewis's own work.

The Consolation of Philosophy

The Consolation of Philosophy (Latin: De consolatione philosophiae) is a philosophical work by Boethius, written around the year 524. It has been described as the single most important and influential work in the West on Medieval and early Renaissance Christianity, as well as the last great Western work of the Classical Period.

The Four Loves

The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments. The book was based on a set of radio talks from 1958 which had been criticised in the U.S. at the time for their frankness about sex.

They Asked for a Paper

They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses is a collection of essays by C. S. Lewis. This collection of twelve essays by C. S. Lewis was published by Geoffrey Bles in 1962.

The collection includes some of Lewis's thoughts on literary topics and people along with some of his thinking about the social sciences. One of the most important essays that appears in They Asked for a Paper is Lewis's inaugural address at the University of Cambridge, entitled "De Descriptione Temporum," Latin for "On a Description of the Times." In the lecture he argued that the most important historical date was not the division between medieval times and the Renaissance but 1830 which was what he termed the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.It was Lewis's last book to be published in his lifetime, as he died on 22 November the following year.

Works by C. S. Lewis

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