A. N. Hunt


C. S. Lewis experienced several moments of Sehnsucht in his life. In one incident, he reported “such a sudden intense feeling of delight that it sort of stopped me in my walk and spun me round. Indeed the sweetness was so great, & seemed so to affect the whole body as well as the mind.” This essay contends that new and significant light can be thrown on these fascinating episodes in Lewis’ life. In fact, the general philosophical features of the phenomenon causing Sehnsucht can be discerned, and described within the framework established by German existentialist Karl Jaspers (1883-1969). Like all such reflection, Sehnsucht reminds us that the world is “beyond our full comprehension.” We have to try and bring our initial perplexity about this “unnameable something” into reflective and explicit cognition in order to clarify what it means.