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The Place of the Lion in C.S. Lewis’ Fiction

16 June 2015

Here is an interesting essay on C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, and their possible influence on each other. I agree with the author that Aslan in Lewis’s Narnia stories probably owes little to the lion in Charles Williams’s The Place of the Lion. Unlike the author of the essay linked below, I read The Place of the Lion before I read any of the Narnia stories, and my mother, who read it before me, said it reminded her of the nursery rhymne.

The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.

TarotForceIt helps to see the nusery rhyme in its historical context, which is political. In a sense the beastly archetypes that get loose in Williams’s novel represent abstract powers in this world. For Williams the Lion represents strength, yet in another novel he wrote about the Tarot, and there the strength is not represented so much by the Lion, as by the human being controlling the Lion. And The Place of the Lion ends with Adam reasserting control over the beasts, and the powers they represent.

In the last few decades we have seen people enacting Williams’s novel in everyday life, wanting to release economic powers, for example, from human control, as advocated by the free market ideology.

That all goes beyond this essay, but I think the essay is a very good introduction to these books for those who haven’t read them, and food for thought for those who have

A Pilgrim in Narnia

The Place of the Lion by Charles WilliamsA couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of being a guest blogger for The Oddest Inkling in a series on Charles Williams’ The Place of the Lion. This was the first Williams book that C.S. Lewis had ever encountered, and it was transformational for him. My question in this blog is what role it played in Lewis’ own fiction writing.

The Place of the Lion in C.S. Lewis’ Fiction

I came to Charles Williams’ The Place of the Lion because of my work in C.S. Lewis. I know that Williams had a great influence upon Lewis, and I am determined to find out how deep that influence really is. Moreover, Lewis discovers the Lion at a key point in his life: his academic career is building with the release of The Allegory of Love (1936) and his continual work on The Personal Heresy (1939) . It is at…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 16 June 2015 5:49 pm

    Your intro adds to my thoughts in a totally new way. Very cool.

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