Thursday, January 8, 2009

Redemption, Destruction, Redemption, Destruction

A little late this week, but your assignment is another C.S. Lewis, this time in fiction!  Still no lions or wardrobes to be seen, but there IS mythology, and maybe even a little allegory. 

It's called "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold", and it's based on the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche.  For those of you who, like me, have no idea what that means, read the "Note" at the end first.  It tells you the original story in just two short pages, and then you won't spend the whole time going "When's it going to be Valentine's Day, and when is Cupid going to shoot lovers with his bow and arrow?"  Turns out, Cupid of the Latin myth has very little to do with this guy: 

and maybe a little more to do with this guy: 

Not that we really see much of Christianity in this book, per se, but C.S. Lewis being a capital-C Christian author and all, I figure there's at least a little something to be said for the idea that this is a story about someone coming to faith by the back way.  Maybe I'm unduly influenced by having just read his autobiography, though.

Anyway, here he takes the myth of Psyche and Cupid (look it up, already), and adds a little twist.  We hear the story from one of the supposedly jealous and destructive sisters who, it turns out, truly loved Psyche and made terrible mistakes as a result of that love.  These mistakes lead to her own and Psyche's downfall, but that's only about the middle of the story.  From there Orual (the sister) becomes a just and well-beloved queen, but is still a miserable and ugly woman, and so cannot be happy.  She writes the whole book as a condemnation of the gods, but is obliged to add a coda (that lasts 50 pages) when she discovers that she is not who she thought she was and very little was as it seemed.  She finds redemption and forgiveness exactly as soon as she knows to look for them, and then she dies.

So, now that you know how everything turns out, go read it blog bytches!  And I promise not to bring up C.S. Lewis again for awhile.  


* This image was originally in a blog called Illiterate Electorate, which has the terrible form to put every damn post on the front page, so I had to scroll through and wait for my computer to download about 20,000 election-related photos before I found the post it appeared in, and damned if I still have no idea what the flip the picture actually is.  I cropped it and re-posted it here because when I tried to just link it, it turned out huge and I didn't feel like dealing with html today.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm not reading C.S. Lewis because you know me and the big C, but I have to say that the picture you painstakingly found is super cool!