Friday, July 07, 2006

A little game...

[07/10 edited for clarity, added some hints]
Alright, if any of you are still reading my boring and infrequently-updated blog, here's some fun to be had...

As I've said, I'm taking a seminar here with a former Oxford Scholar who is writing a book that will revolutionize critical approaches to some of C. S. Lewis' best writing. If you can't handle the suspense, you can probably find the Times Lit. Supplement article that has an early explanation of the new theory. If you can wait a while, I'll try to make things interesting for you...

First, the ground rules:
If you've got the answer, don't just post it in the comments section. Either translate your guess into ROT13 here, or give me an e-mail to see if you're right.

This "key" to C.S. Lewis' fiction is based on a close reading of some of his writing on a specific topic: every post will have an excerpt from Planets, a poem Lewis published in 1935. Other significantly relevant passages are in Ch. 15 of That Hideous Strength, the last book is Lewis' "Cosmic Trilogy." Another relevant reading will be in Lewis' book on Medieval literature and thought, called The Discarded Image. If you're really desperate you can look that up, but you should be able to come up with something based on the poem by itself.

The application of the "key" is very important: if you want a refresher on Lewis' approach to storytelling, there's an essay called "Meditation in a Toolshed" that's currently printed in the God in the Dock collection. I'll say this much: the important thing about this whole "secret key" to his writing is that it was focused on infusing his writing with an atmosphere that you will be completely absorbed in, to the point that you'd never notice the thing because you're too busy enjoying it.

Now, for the poem excerpt. I'm playing with the ordering of things to make this a bit easier for you all.

...as we mount further
Where rippled radiance rolls about us
Moved with music--measureless the waves'
Joy and jubilee. It is JOVE's orbit,
Filled and festal, faster turning
With arc ampler. From the Isles of Tin
Tyrian traders, in trouble steering
Came with his cargoes; the Cornish treasure
That his ray ripens. Of wrath ended
And woes mended, of winter passed
And guilt forgiven, and goof fortune
Jove is master; and of jocund revel,
Laughter of ladies. The lion-hearted,
The myriad-minded, men like the gods,
Helps and heroes, helms of nations
Just and gentle, are Jove's children,
Work his wonders. On his white forehead
Calm and kingly, no care darkens
Nor wrath wrinkles: but righteous power
And leisure and largess their loose splendours
Have wrapped around him--a rich mantle
Of ease and empire. ...

In That Hideous Strength, specifically note the part where Glund Oyarsa, or Jove (Jupiter) comes into the house.

In The Discarded Image, Lewis makes the following notes about Jupiter:
Jupiter, the King... The character he produces in men would now be very imperfectly expressed by the word 'jovial', and is not very easy to grasp; it is no longer, like the saturnine character, one of our archetypes. We may say it is Kingly; but we must think of a King at peace, enthroned, taking his leisure, serene. The Jovial character is cheerful, festive yet temperate, tranquil, magnanimous.

[A big hint: Who would you say is a cultural icon in our world for the 'jovial' spirit? This character has more recently been denounced as a symbol of materialism and hollywood silliness, but Lewis would probably defend the origins of the myth...]

Let me know what you think!

8 Comments:

Blogger Rus said...

I'm at a disadvantage because That Hideous Strength is the one book of the triology I've had trouble getting started with. However I was piqued by your clue about the icon of joviality...

Jub jbhyq V fnl vf gur vpba sbe n "wbivny" fcvevg? V jbhyq fnl gur Qnynv Ynzn.

12:54 pm  
Blogger Daniel Jackson said...

Rus, not popular enough. Definitely not western enough.

7:03 pm  
Blogger etechne said...

re: times lit suppl...

date? link? hrm?

3:16 pm  
Blogger Daniel Jackson said...

If you really want to "cheat", just google some of the keywords from the info I've given; it's not hard at all to find something related. Once you see the article headline you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

6:08 pm  
Blogger etechne said...

fnagn pynhf?

if i must guess. i was just interested in the times ref as i have read relatively few things by lewis - screwtape, joy, letters, mere...

9:35 am  
Blogger Daniel Jackson said...

Okay, a couple of you have gotten that hint: now look very carefully at the things mentioned in the poem.

12:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:32 pm  

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