“We have seen, whether in his fiction or nonfiction, that Lewis is given to depictions, creating windows and images, inventing stories, developing metaphors, and crafting illustrations so his readers can see what he saw and more. He did these things that readers might better see and understand the real world.” So says Jerry Root and Mark Neal in their fascinating treatment of C.S. Lewis.
The book is The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis.The authors survey the literary mountain of books written by Lewis and focus their attention on his attempts to spark the imagination of readers. From the non-fiction works, Surprised by Joy and Mere Christianity to his fiction works like The Great Divorce and The Chronicles of Narnia, Root and Neal work hard to excavate the “imaginative ore” from the deep recesses of C.S. Lewis treasure trove. Indeed, “Lewis’s use of the imagination makes it possible for us to enter into collaboration with things once outside of our vision of the world.”
Having read much of Lewis’s work, I was personally fascinated and and inspired by the authors attempts to highlight his imagination. For the works I was less familiar with, such as the Space Triology the treatment was more difficult to follow.
The authors write, “Ultimately, the imagination is a vital ‘organ of meaning’ that we must cultivate if we desire to live well, if we are to grow and change and expand our understanding of the world that God has placed us in. God calls us to know it, and to know it well.”
Overall, the authors succeed in their attempt to draw readers into the imaginative world of C.S. Lewis. They conclude on a high note by challenging readers to fight a falsified notion of the imagination: “We encourage you to fight the notion that the imagination is simply ‘make-believe’ and therefore not to be trusted. Modern science certainly has not helped to foster the imagination as a source of truth. Reason, intellect, and method are prized above all else, while imagination is patted condescendingly on the head.” In the final analysis, readers are encouraged to marry reason and imagination – all with the intention of glorifying God.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.