That Hideous Strength, by Clive Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis) – 1946, 1977 (Bernard Symancyk)

that-hideous-strength-cs-lewis-1946-1977“Why you fool, it’s the educated reader who can be gulled.
All our difficulty comes with the others.
When did you meet a workman who believes the papers?
He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles.
He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs
about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats.
He is our problem.
We have to recondition him.

But the educated public,
the people who read the highbrow weeklies,
don’t need reconditioning.
They’re all right already.
They’ll believe anything.”“Why you fool, it’s the educated reader who can be gulled.

All our difficulty comes with the others.
When did you meet a workman who believes the papers?
He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles.
He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs
about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats.

He is our problem.
We have to recondition him.

But the educated public,
the people who read the highbrow weeklies,
don’t need reconditioning.
They’re all right already.

They’ll believe anything.”

(See review and discussion at Chicago Boyz website…) 

Perelandra, by Clive Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis) – 1944, 1965 (Bernard Symancyk)

perelandra-cs-lewis-1944-1965-bernard-symancyk“My dear Ransom,
I wish you would not keep relapsing on to the popular level.
The two things are only moments in the single, unique reality.
The world leaps forward through great men
and greatness always transcends mere moralism.
When the leap has been made our ‘diabolism’
as you would call it becomes the morality of the next stage;
but while we are making it, we are called criminals, heretics, blasphemers…”

               “How far does it go?
Would you still obey the Life-Force
if you found it prompting you to murder me?”

 Yes.”

“Or to sell England to the Germans?”

“Yes.”

“Or to print lies as serious research in a scientific periodical?”

“Yes.”

“God help you!” said Ransom.

* * * * * * * * * * *

It looked at Ransom in silence and at last began to smile. 
We have all often spoken –
Ransom himself had often spoken –
of a devilish smile. 
Now he realized that he had never taken the words seriously. 
The smile was not bitter, nor raging, nor, in an ordinary sense, sinister;
it was not even mocking. 
It seemed to summon Ransom, with horrible naivete of welcome,
into the world of its own pleasures,
as if all men were at one in those pleasures,
as if they were the most natural thing in the world
and no dispute could ever have occurred about them. 
It was not furtive, nor ashamed, it had nothing of the conspirator in it. 

It did not defy goodness, it ignored it to the point of annihilation. 

Ransom perceived that he had never before seen anything
but half-hearted and uneasy attempts at evil. 
This creature was whole-hearted. 
The extremity of its evil had passed beyond all struggle
into some state which bore a horrible similarity to innocence. 
It was beyond vice as the Lady was beyond virtue.

Out of the Silent Planet, by Clive Staples Lewis (“C.S. Lewis”) – 1965, 1969 (Bernard Symancyk)

out-of-the-silent-planet-cs-lewis-1965-1969-bernard-symancyk“…We are only obeying orders.”

“Whose?”

There was another pause.
“Come,” said Weston at last,
“there is really no use in continuing this cross-examination. 
You keep on asking me questions I can’t answer;
in some cases because I don’t know the answers,
in other because you wouldn’t understand them. 
It will make things very much pleasanter during the voyage
if you can only resign your mind to your fate and stop bothering yourself and us. 
It would be easier if your philosophy of life
were not so insufferably narrow or individualistic. 
I had thought no one could fail to be inspired
by the role you are being asked to play:
that even a worm, if it could understand, would rise to the sacrifice. 
I mean, of course, the sacrifice of time and liberty, and some little risk. 
Don’t misunderstand me.”

“Well,” said Ransom, “You hold all the cards, and I must make the best of it. 
I consider your philosophy of life raving lunacy. 
I suppose all that stuff about infinity and eternity means
that you think you are justified in doing anything
– absolutely anything –
here and now,
on the off chance
that some creatures or other descended from man as we know him
may crawl about a few centuries longer in some part of the universe.”

The Bridge of San Luis Rey, by Thornton Wilder (Mary Drevenstedt)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 00 1 Thornton Wilder - 1967The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Washington Square Press Edition, 1967

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 00 0 - Thornton Wilder - 1927 (Amy Drevenstedt)The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Grosset & Dunlap, First Edition, 1927

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 01 - Frontspiece (Drevenstedt)(Frontspiece)

From all this saddening data

Brother Juniper contrived an index for each peasant.

He added up the total for victims

and compared it with the total for survivors,

to discover that the dead were five times more worth saving.

 

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 37 - Marquesa de Montemayor (Drevenstedt)Marquesa de Montemayor (37)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 65 - Marquesa de Montemayor (Drevenstedt)Marquesa de Montemayor (65)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 77 - Marquesa de Montemayor (Drevenstedt)Marquesa de Montemayor (77)

It looked almost as though the pestilence had been directed

against the really valuable people in the village of Puerto.

 

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 86 - Marquesa de Montemayor (Drevenstedt)Marquesa de Montemayor (86)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 91 - Esteban (Drevenstedt)Esteban (91)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 113 - Esteban (Drevenstedt)Esteban (113)

And on that afternoon

Brother Juniper took a walk along the edge of the Pacific.

He tore up his findings and cast them into the waves;

he gazed for an hour upon the great clouds of pearl

that hang forever upon the horizon of that sea,

and extracted from their beauty a resignation

that he did not permit his reason to examine.

 

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 149 - Uncle Pio (Drevenstedt)Uncle Pio (149)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 173 - Esteban (Drevenstedt)Esteban (173)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 205 - Uncle Pio (Drevenstedt)Uncle Pio (205)

The discrepancy between faith and the facts

is greater than is generally assumed.

 

The Bridge of San Luis Rey - 221 - Perhaps an Intention (Drevenstedt)Perhaps an Intention (221)

Heaven’s My Destination, by Thornton Wilder – 1934, 1960 (Unknown artist)

heavens-my-destination-thornton-wilder-1960-henry-koerner_edited-1

“Now listen!  Listen to me!” she said, emphatically. 
“You make me sick. 
Where do they get yuh, your the’ries and your ideas? 
Nowhere! 
Live, kid, – live! 
What’d become of all of us sons-of-bitches,
if we stopped to argue out every step we took? 
Stick down to earth.”
Brush looked at her with furrowed brow and said in a low voice,

“It seems to me I live.”

* * * * * * * * * *

George Brush is my name;
America’s my nation;
Ludington’s my dwelling place
And Heaven’s my destination.

(Doggerel which children of the Middle West were accustomed to write in their schoolbooks.)