Wednesday, January 26, 2005

On Mixing Reality and Fantasy

Dear Joan,

I am sure you had fun writing the stories. The main fault of the animal one is that you don't mix the reality and the fantasy quite in the right way. One way is Beatrix Potter's or Brer Rabbit's. By fantasy the animals are allowed to talk and behave in many ways like humans. But their relations to one another and to us remain the real ones. Rabbits are in danger from foxes and men. The other way is mine: you go right out of this world into a different creation, where there are a different sort of animals. Yours are all in the real world with a real eclipse. But they don't have the real relations to one another--real small animals would not be friends with an owl, nor would it know more astronomy than they! The spy story is better but you are trying to get too much into the space. One feels crowded. And wouldn't the police be rather silly if they thought a man who sang the part of Wotan (how I love it, by the way) well couldn't be a spy? I hope you don't mind me telling you all this? One can learn only by seeing one's mistakes.

We've had a terrible dark, wet summer here but it looks as if we are now beginning a nice autumn.

With love,

Yours, C.S. Lewis

~Letters to Children, letter of 31 August 1958


On this day:

1942 The Oxford University Socratic Club, Somerville College, Oxford, holds its first meeting. Lewis serves as its first president.

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