(Review) Bedeviled: Lewis, Tolkien and the Shadow of Evil by Colin Duriez
Publisher: IVP Books
Genre: Nonfiction, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Spiritual Conflict
Rating: 5 stars for excellent
|C S Lewis 1898-1963|
The C.S. Lewis Foundation.
From Christianity today: C.S. Lewis.
|J R R Tolkien 1892-1973|
Bedeviled is a study of the literary works primarily of C. S. Lewis, and followed by J. R. R. Tolkien. Smaller studies of Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, Owen Barfield, and Warren Lewis are explored. Dorothy Sayers was not a member of the Inklings group; however, she was a friend and fellow author.
The study focuses on several key features and themes in the Inklings writings: dark forces, magic arts, spiritual conflict and warfare, hell, good versus evil, and the supernatural world.
Brief biographies are given on the writers but not lengthy bios. The emphasis is on their writings, and the motivations and examinations of their works.
I know you will be shocked but I have just began reading The Chronicles of Narnia. This is the first time to read the fantasy fiction stories by Lewis. I have read a few of C.S. Lewis's nonfiction books. I have read a few of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy fiction books.
The Inklings group wrestled with meaningful themes of "modern evil in literature."
Lewis's development from atheist to Christian, and his growth in Christianity, is shown in his writings. Duriez examines Lewis's transformation as a writer.
Books are examined, looking for the theme and purpose. For example:
The correspondence between devils in The Screwtape Letters, which we explored in chapter two, focuses on the individual human soul, whereas the Narnian Chronicles are somewhat more concerned with the nature of human and Christian society and the meaning of history in its peaceful and dark periods." Page 136.
Tolkien believes that joy in the story marks the presence of grace from the primary world...Tolkien gives more consideration to the quality of joy, linking it to the Gospel narratives, which have all the qualities of an other-worldly fairy story, while at the same time being primary world history...Dominating the entire cycle of Tolkien's tales of Middle-earth is a longing to obtain the Undying Lands of the uttermost west." Page 178Being acquainted with Lewis and Tolkien's books help.
I'm aware not all people are interested in dissecting the background and reasons for an author's work. Some people want to read and not really understand any symbolism in the story.
Bedeviled is for an audience of readers who want a full examination of Lewis and Tolkien's writing style and books.
Both men were in combat during World War I. Their experiences deeply affected them. The battles in a war, and the battles in life, are interwoven in their belief of "the very real powers of light and darkness."
|The pub where the Inklings met.|