Unrolling the book again: c.s. Lewis on the efficacy of language in perelandra and till we have faces
Ritter, Rebecca Diane
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In his Studies in Words, C.S. Lewis represents language as “important and effective” in certain matters of communication, yet sometimes-defective in others. His collected letters corroborate this complex position, also indicating certain shifts in Lewis’s view on the capability of word and story to represent truth accurately. The impetus for these shifts in perspective has been explained as specific interactions with J.R.R. Tolkien, among other colleagues; these discussions established Lewis’s belief in the “truth” of myth, and most importantly of the Christian myth. The question then raised concerns the resulting shift in and development of Lewis’s views on language, and to what extent his belief in true myth as meta-narrative influenced this development. An investigation of the novels Perelandra and Till We Have Faces demonstrates the conclusions at which Lewis arrived regarding the capability of language to communicate meaning, and also illuminates the connections between his position on language and his view of the essential connection between reality and myth.