C. S. Lewis and T. S. Eliot

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:53 PM

Most of you know of my great admiration for C. S. Lewis. His writing style has always been, for me, a goal — however hopeless — that I should like to someday reach in my own prose. He also was an academic, a noted literary critic and a master at explaining theology (and, to a lesser extent, philosophy). As a theologian, he also embodied many of the principles of neo-orthodoxy, though I have found little on his direct knowledge and interest in Barth, Brunner and so on.

In short, Lewis is sort of the archetype that I would like to aspire to in most things. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't perfect and I don't “idolize” him, I simply recognize him as a man who did essentially the things I would like to do and did them very well. The combination literary critic-theology writer isn't exactly a common occupation, you know?

T. S. Eliot, as I've come to appreciate him over the last few years, is interesting to me for similar reasons. After a bout in Eastern religion, he ended up an Anglican, like Lewis. He was a literary giant (I'd suggest quite possibly the literary giant of the twentieth century) in both poetry and criticism and he was also well versed in philosophy and theology.

Given that they both worked in the field of literature at Oxford or Cambridge during the same time span, I wondered how they got along, for surely they knew each other. I never actually knew anything in relation to that, however, until I ran into this excellent transcript of a lecture on the subjection. If you read it, make sure to read it all the way through for the interesting twist toward the end.

Interesting.

(It is also interesting I keep bringing up Eliot here. He has been popping up in a lot of things I've been working on lately, not all of them even related.)


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