C.S. Lewis Selections
Description: Prior to creating the beloved fantasy world of Narnia, C.S. Lewis wrote “A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups,” as he subtitled That Hideous Strength. It is a story of “magicians, devils, pantomime animals, and planetary angels,” as he writes in the preface, set in a contemporary English university, meant to enchant the modern adult. It is also, however, meant to teach. Two years before the publication of That Hideous Strength, Lewis wrote The Abolition of Man, which sets forth in prose essays what That Hideous Strength reveals in story form. Consequently, the two works can be read as companions, even without prior knowledge of the other books in the Space Trilogy, to which That Hideous Strength belongs. Both tell the tale of man’s incessant attempts to rival the power of God by whatever means available. Taken from a mid-sixteenth century poem, the title of That Hideous Strength refers to the Tower of Babel, whose dark shadow stretches for miles. In true fairy-tale fashion, these two works call on their readers to forsake the fruitless struggle for control and to embrace instead the power of love.
Grade Level: 9-12
Workload and Assessment: This class can either be taken as enrichment or for credit. Students wishing to earn .25 credits for the course will be assessed by attendance and participation, and the successful completion of an assigned essay.