Saturday, June 21, 2014

All My Road Before Me

Ben had called a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in Lewis's diary, 1922-27, All My Road Before Me.  He was handling it at a used book store outside Houston and wondering. One would hardly think so, as this precedes his conversion by a few years and diaries include more minutiae than one would ordinarily sign on for.  But fanatics know no bounds, and I gave the go-ahead, later receiving it as a present.

Lewis's tone came under criticism recently on this blog and I discussed this.  Even in his diary, I like his phrasing and atmosphere.  I don't get the complaint. Perhaps it would be clearer if I were English.  I am also entirely humbled to encounter someone who reads Kant and Thucydides of a morning and has positive and negative things to say about each.  He can like the translating abilities of a thinker and certain aspects of his philosophy, yet reject others.  Lewis is a larger soul than I am.  I strive for this but tend to muddle them.  It is work and effort for me, seems to come naturally for him.

I am also liking the diary for itself, just getting a greater feel for Lewis and his personality.  There isn't much religion or literary opinion at any depth - just all the discussions together about walks, and weather, and personalities.  what he is reading and what beer he is drinking, and how financial concerns loom over so much of his week. (I noticed this also in Tolkien's letters.  Oxford dons were not prosperous in that day, and fellows even less.)

9 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Comment deleted because of racial sexual content

Wyman said...

I didn't read all of it, or even much of it. I mostly just leafed through. I thought it was interesting mostly for its tone - it was interesting to read the daily thoughts of someone who has received no notice for his thinking yet, but is on the cusp of being very famous. Not that Lewis was ever the least bit fatuous, but there's a rawer humility to it that comes from having nothing and no one knowing your name, which was obviously less true later in his life (though the money troubles remained).

Donna B. said...

Asking myself whether I'm more or less curious about the deleted comment because of the explanation...

Also thinking I could (should?) go back and delete numerous comments of mine with the explanation "because I was drunk".

This one too, perhaps?

james said...

It seems we find 3 categories of inappropriate comments:
1) Those who didn't understand the issue and rant about something that isn't there. Sometimes the obtuseness is real but often it is ideologically driven.
2) Trolls who like to stir up trouble.
3) Dung-smearing monkeys trying to mark territory.

I happened to see the comment last night, and it looked type 3.

Sam L. said...

Comment about a dead, semi-well-known English writer. I wonder about a comment that impugns his race and sex, and why any fool would go there.

dmoelling said...

A few years ago I listened to an interview with an author of a book on the Haymarket Bombers. Both the author and interviewer were dyed in the wool leftists, but the author had come to the conclusion that the bombers were actually guilty as charged. They acted as they declared (as Anarchists) to destroy the current civic order. One suspects that most if not all of the US Communists of the 1930's actually believed in the program. The HUAC didn't have to look very hard to find them. That others later professed to be only marginally involved or ignorant of the true nature of the Party stretches the imagination.

Texan99 said...

Lewis said that, even before he converted, there was someone he knew in WWI (maybe a sergeant?) who first discussed duty with him in a way that awoke him to the whole world of moral choice. In the early 1920s I guess he would have been mulling these things over?

His style is so unfashionable now. If you are used to the didacticism of the 19th century he seems flexible and humble, but in the 21st century there are lots of people who can't bear his moral certainty and assumed authority on issues other than a narrow, pre-approved set, like sustainable agriculture.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@dmoeling - one would think they must have known. But look at folks today. We are surrounded by those who "should" know they are enabling fools and frauds. Yet they don't. The ability of all of us to pick and choose our reality from the buffet table is astounding.

@T99 - yes, I keep forgetting that even in my own generation I have more of the 19th C or earlier in me than most other folks. Moral certainty per se does not offend me. I welcome such declarations, but choose to examine "are they so?" rather than saying "Horrors! Have any of us the right to be so sure?"

ymarsakar said...

These days, the buffet table is choosing them.