(urth) C.S. Lewis's influence
matthewalangroves at gmail.com
Tue Sep 4 20:06:34 PDT 2007
I seem to have overstated my case, thereby losing my point. I don't
really mean to say that Wolfe adopts Lewis's cosmology, but I do want
to say that there are more resemblances between the Ransom trilogy and
some of Wolfe's works than can be accounted for solely by
co-influence. (I *want* to say that, but I can't quite, not having
read G.K. Chesterton or a lot of other things both Wolfe and Lewis
might have read.) Again, it's probably not too surprising that Wolfe,
as a Christian sf writer, would be influenced by Lewis (Wolfe even
names a character in "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories"
after Lewis's protagonist, Ransom). But whereas I've seen some
discussion about the influence of H.G. Wells, H.P. Lovecraft, and
J.R.R. Tolkien, I haven't seen a lot of discussion of the particular
manifestations of C.S. Lewis's influence.
I think the construction of a celestial hierarchy of Heiros for a
science-fictional setting is one such manifestation. As to the
particulars of Lewis's angelic space beings versus Wolfe's in the New
Sun books, in most ways they are obviously very different.
The main point: C.S. Lewis refers to classical, medieval and Arthurian
sources; he embeds these into a new, fictional cosmology that is
informed by his contemporaneous scientific understanding and by his
Christian beliefs; and then he uses it to write sf books. Before I
read Lewis, I hadn't known anyone but Wolfe to have done this. Wolfe
is more rigorous and casts his net even wider in terms of his sources,
but surely Lewis must have been a model for Wolfe in this regard.
Also they both like beast men.
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