C. S. Lewis and the Myth of Love: Four Facts and Two Questions

On October 11th at Houston Baptist University, I’ll begin a series of lectures called C. S. Lewis and the Myth of Love: (Un)veiling the Mysteries of Till We Have Faces. Anyone who has stood close to me for the last decade knows that Lewis’s last novel, “A Myth Retold,” has been the subject of my exclusive interest for many years.

During that decade, my understanding of that fascinating work has continued to grow, and the time has come to start sharing some of the results of years of thought and study.

As I prepare, several key facts about that book stand out. I’ve also received a number of questions about the book and the lecture series, which I want to address–so here goes:

  1. Far and away my best book“: Twice in his letters, both times in 1960, Lewis calls his last novel his best. To one correspondent he writes, “You gave me great pleasure by what you said about Till We Have Faces, for that book, which I consider far and away the best I have written, has been my one big failure both with the critics and with the public.” Earlier that year Lewis expressed the same sentiment, commenting to another reader, “What pleased me enormously in your letter was the bit about Till We Have Faces, for I think it far and away my best book but it has, with the critics and the public, been my one great failure: an absolute ‘flop’. No one seems to have the slightest idea what I’m getting at in it.” During these lectures, I will begin to explain why Lewis was right–it is “far and away” Lewis’s best.
  2. More than “the slightest idea“: During the years I have been studying, teaching, and writing about Till We Have Faces, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the most prominent figures associated with C. S. Lewis about my work. Conversations and arguments with and insights from such leading lights as Walter Hooper, Douglas Gresham, Michael Ward, Diana Pavlac Glyer, Jerry Root, Don W. King, Chris Mitchell, Bruce Edwards, Joseph Pearce, Tom Howard, James T. Como, and many others have strengthened my arguments and deepened my understanding. I know what Lewis “was getting at in” Till We Have Faces.   
  3. No longer “an absolute flop“: Over the years, this last novel has grown in its popularity and its deep meaningfulness with readers, even while most of its mysteries remain hidden. Anecdotally, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people for whom also this is Lewis’s best book. It “strikes, and strikes deep,” as Lewis said of the Orpheus myth in Experiment in Criticism. This novel haunts even as it continues to baffle readers, who return to it again and again.
  4. Following Lewis’s example:  For years, people have asked about the status of my Ph.D. dissertation and book about Lewis’s last novel. These lectures will form the core of that effort. Taking a page from Abolition of Man, the Oxford History of English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Excluding Drama), Spenser’s Images of LifeThe Discarded Image, many sermons and talks including “The Weight of Glory” and, most famously, Mere Christianity, my long-awaited study of Till We Have Faces will spring directly from these talks. We’ll record and transcribe them, and the results will form the first draft of my book-length study of Lewis’s greatest masterpiece.

As we promote C. S. Lewis and the Myth of Love, two questions keep coming up, and it seemed best to address them here:

  1. Will these talks be recorded? In short, yes. Through the gracious support of HBU’s School of Christian Thought, the Myth of Love talks will be filmed and recorded for a possible DVD release in the future. But for now, the best way to learn about this towering book will come from hearing the talks in person.
  2. Can you come to my town? I’d love to. HBU will host four of the talks over the course of the 2017-18 school year; these four lectures contain the core of four chapters in the book-length study. But I have ten other talks in the series and am in discussions about venues around the country to present more material. Discussions about talks in Nashville, TN are well underway. I would love to come to your town. How? Talk with local churches and colleges near you and contact me at andrew@andrewlazo.com to discuss more details. You can book tickets to the Houston events directly by following this link.Andrew Lazo presents a new lecture series on C.S. Lewis and Till We Have Faces

DETAILS:

  • Dates: October 11 & November 15, 2017, and February 7 & March 21 (with a planned special guest), 2018
  • Time: All lectures will be from 7:00-9:00 PM
  • Location: Belin Chapel, Houston Baptist University
  • Pricing: $7 / lecture with advanced registration ($10 at the door*). Bundle & Save: Register for all 4 lectures now for $20 ($25 at the door* on October 11). Group Pricing: Bring your friends & save when reserving at least 3 seats in advance ($5 per person per lecture)
  • Presented by HBU’s School of Christian Thought at HBU and Houston Christian High School
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