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Escape Artists



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Cathy’s new column on Narnia is worth reading, and the last line is laugh-out-loud funny. In the piece, she quotes anti-Narnian Christians:

He [C.S. Lewis] built entire surrealistic worlds for our children to escape into — escape from reality and from real life. These worlds invariably contain creatures of every sort endearing to our children, performing heroic feats and displaying often greater powers than our savior.

This gets Lewis’s goals ass-backwards. (Sorry, but if you read Cathy’s piece you’ll see why that’s precisely the right term.) In a short essay on The Lord of the Rings, Lewis made this point about imaginative fiction:
We do not retreat from reality, we rediscover it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves… By dipping them in myth we see them more clearly.
In other words, Middle Earth and Narnia are about all kinds of things, but escapism isn’t one of them.


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