Friday, July 22, 2005

Sharp and Clear as a Diamond

A quotation today from Charles Gilmore's essay in C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table. During World War II, Lewis was asked by the Chaplain-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force to give talks to the men and women of the RAF stationed in the many camps and training locations in the U.K. This was the first time Lewis had been asked to address non-students, and he was worried that he would flop. Furthermore, he knew the survival statistics of the pilots at that time, and found it very humbling to talk to a roomful of personnel, many of whom would not be alive in another week:

"The effect he made is hard to describe a generation later, and I doubt whether even a contemporary diary could quite convey it. He never showed any emotion, although I think that his listeners knew instinctively that his thoughts had been hammered out in the furnace rather than stored inside a glacier. His subject matter varied most wonderfully and, considered as such, was not always very interesting to ordinary people, but he could light it up with such grace and clarity that, long after what he actually said had been forgotten, the memory of many who heard him was that he had shown to them a sterling and direct purpose, where before they had found only the confusion of a whirlpool. How he did this, whether he knew that he did it, I have no idea but, although I went to only a few of his lectures, I saw the same result, sharp and clear as a diamond with many lights, whether he was speaking to a hundred or a dozen."
~Charles Gilmore, "To the RAF", C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table (1979)

On this day:

1962 A review of The Lord of the Rings appeared in the New York Herald Tribune: "One of the most remarkable exercises in imaginative fantasy in modern English writing."

2 Comment(s):

At Fri Jul 22, 09:54:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nan here - an 80+ yr old from Tasmania; having just serendipitously found your Window in the Garden Wall Blog.
I'm blessed - and thankyou.
Wondering if these daily quotations are archived ?
CSL (Narnia chronicles) was first read in our family round the fire on winter nights about 50 years ago. Then came his George MacDonald anthology, and on to so many of the writings of both - which in turn has led into a lifetime of help.

At Fri Jul 22, 10:17:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Hi Nan! I'm glad you enjoy the quotations. I started this blog last September, so if you click on the month links on the sidebar, you will bring up each months' worth of posts. That's all the archive I have at present.

My first CSL book was "A Horse and His Boy", when I was 12. That's 30 years ago for me!


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