Monday, July 18, 2005

A Child's Imagination

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups--playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (1952)

A child is always thinking about [those] details in a story which a grown-up regards as indifferent. If when you first told the tale your hero was warned by three little men appearing on the left of the road, and when you tell it again you introduce one little man on the right of the road, the child protests. And the child is right. You think it makes no difference because you are not living the story at all. If you were, you would know better. Motifs, machines, and the like are abstractions of literary history and therefore interchangeable: but concrete imagination knows nothing of them.
~C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays, "Hamlet, The Prince or the Poem" (1942)


Bonus quotation for the day:

On Television last night I saw the opening installment of J[ack]'s Lion, Witch and Wardrobe by which I was agreeably surprised. Lucy is good, and looks the part, and Tumnus comes off. We got only so far as Lucy's return from her first visit to Narnia, so one cannot yet form any opinion of the whole thing, but so far it's very promising and I think J[ack] would have been pleased with it--no hint so far of what he feared, a touch of Disneyland. [...]How I wish J[ack] were here to talk it over with me!
~Warren Lewis, Brothers and Friends, Journal entry of July 9, 1967 (edited by Clyde S. Kilby and Marjorie Lamp Mead) 1982

2 Comment(s):

At Mon Jul 18, 08:20:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

That second quotation reminds me of my oldest daughter when she was a toddler. She insisted on being read "Goodnight Moon" every night before bedtime. She always knew if I tried to skip a page, or didn't read the words exactly right. It got so I could recite the whole story without even looking. "In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon..."

At Wed Jul 27, 11:11:00 AM EST, Blogger Alex said...

After many years off, I decided to dust off the old Narnia books, and give them another read. I'm almost done with them, and I can't say that the joy is any less now that I'm an adult. Good writing is good writing, I guess, regardless of genre.

This is an interesting site. I'll make sure to return for some serious discussion.


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