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C.S. Lewis' Aesthetics


While some might be tempted to think that C. S. Lewis wrote more on aesthetic themes than on anything else they would be mistaken. For aesthetics has to do with broad, theoretical questions concerning beauty and art, while Lewis’ writings on literary history, literary criticism, and, to a lesser degree, literary theory tend to be more specific. In addition, although people might point to Lewis’ vast outpourings on myth as evidence of his intense interest in aesthetics, they would only be partly correct. As this author has argued elsewhere,1 even though myth touches beauty and can indeed be made into art (myth), myth is not identical to beauty. Thus, while this paper will refer frequently to myth and discuss a few instances of Lewis’ aesthetic theory from his own creative works, it will focus principally on the nature of beauty and Lewis’ broad theory of art. It will also probe beyond the usual boundaries of aesthetics and discuss aspects of literary theory and criticism. As Lewis’ larger philosophical principles illuminated many of his literary principles, this investigation should prove helpful to scholars interested in Lewis’ literary theory and criticism.

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Aesthetics Commons