Book Meme: Thalia Day 2 on Day 4…

In my undergraduate years, I occasionally played Baroque violin for a local Bach ensemble. One of our concerts was at a church, and the only backstage was actually the church basement. While I swished around in my fancy black, combating my nerves, I reviewed the library at the nice Anglican establishment. On a table, marked for taking, I found a book by C.S. Lewis that I’d never seen before. I put it in my bag and ran off to play solo second violin in a few cantatas.

I remember that day. It was April, I think, and the daffodils were out. I was parked up  the road from St. Andrew’s, and the walk back to my ride’s car was uphill and windy.  I hit a stunningly rich major third at the end of the last movement of the Reformation cantata. I wore my mom’s swishy black skirt that catches the light. One of the soloists was a blind friend of mine. The harpsichord had to be tuned more than usual. The timpanist was cute. And, I met my best friend.

The Discarded Image is C.S. Lewis’s exposition on the Medieval world view. He lays forth the concept of the world, of God, and of the relationship of God to the world as imitated in nature. The idea is that every ‘generation’ has a series of notions about the world to help them cope with what they see. As philosophy changes, the notions change.

When I read that book, I fell in love with the view. This book was the foundation for my love of Medievalism.

When I am melancholy, I go back to this tattered friend.

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5 thoughts on “Book Meme: Thalia Day 2 on Day 4…

  1. Wow. I am impressed at what you choose to read and re-read. Not that Discarded Image is not worth re-reading (quite the opposite), but because every time I look through it (typically to re-read the section on the planets), I’m always alarmed by how Lewis throws out names of books I’ve never heard of as though everyone has read them. The first read was a terrible time because I was so intent on the Stuff I’d Never Read that I neglected what points he was making about it.

    • Yeah, the whole I’ve-Never-heard-of-that-book thing got me reading Boethius. I almost said that Consolation of philosophy was the book I keep coming back to, but that seemed a little odd. Not as odd as Sneaky Joe finding a copy in my bathroom. But still, kinda odd.
      Turns out, that S.J. and I tried to read it in Latin. Since it was Late (late, late, late) vernacular latin, it was FILLED with colloquialisms that we found impossible to understand. Too bad! It’s honestly one of my very favorite books of all time.

  2. Shockingly, that’s one of Lewis’ that has still evaded me, despite me also studying to be a medievalist and all. Will have to get to it. Also, Boethius. I’ve read selections from him, but never paid attention to the whole thing. Again, sometimes I wonder where my medievalist credentials really are. (well, some of them are with Sir Gawain and Edward III)

  3. Lewis’s explanation of the Medieval view of the heavens made me cry.
    It isn’t space, it’s the heavens. Not empty, full of the glory of God.
    It isn’t far away, it’s high up, like looking toward the top of a building. That thought reminded me forcibly of a time in my early childhood. I lived in Korea on post with my army dad. I lived in I-Dong on the 13th (14th) floor. At the foot of I-Dong was the playground and if you laid in the sandbox, you could look up and see our balcony. We drew pictures of that view one day. Mine is just a series of stacked lines diminishing in size. That’s what I think of every time I look at the stars. I’m looking toward home.

    • That’s a beautiful anecdote. The heavens are certainly filled with the glory of God, and often I wish that Lewis’ fictional conception of space in his Space Trilogy were literal, because it’s so beautiful. Certainly it’s representative of spiritual truth.

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