Monday, January 07, 2013


Following through on the many references in the Froude post reminded me of an introduction by CS Lewis that I used as a handout when I taught an adult Sunday School class about him in 1994 or so.  In three short pages, he made reference to something like sixty different writers, philosophers, and historical figures.  There was nothing the least bit showy about it, it was simply a reflection of the contents of his mind on the subject.

I have been unable to find it again, leading me to suspect that it was an introduction for a particular edition of a work, which was later abandoned in favor of a preferred one.  I think it was for The Great Divorce or Screwtape, but I can't be sure. This was not long after ED Hirsch Jr's Cultural Literacy book and campaign, so I was quite alert to totting up how many of the references I "got."  Got being defined in three categories - had ever even heard of this person; could make some complete sentence about this person; was familiar with this person's work and thought.  I don't remember my score, but it wasn't good, especially in the last category.

I was thoroughly intimidated, and remain so.  But when I encounter such references put forth without obvious agenda, in entire innocence, it usually intrigues me and I follow it up.

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