Shadows and chivalry: pain, suffering, evil and goodness in the works of George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis
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This thesis argues that George MacDonald's literary influence upon C. S. Lewis-concerning the themes of pain, suffering, evil and goodness-was transforming and long-lasting. It is argued in the opening chapter that MacDonald's work had a great deal to do with the change in young Lewis's imagination, helping to convert him from a romantic doubter to a romantic believer in God and his goodness. A review of both writers' first works suggests that such influence may have begun earlier in Lewis's career than has been noticed. The second chapter examines how both authors contended with the problems that pain and suffering present, and how both understood and presented the nature of faith. Differences in their treatment of these subjects are noted, but it is argued that these views and depictions share fundamental elements, and that MacDonald's direct influence can be demonstrated in particular cases. The view that MacDonald was primarily a champion of feelings is challenged, as is the idea that either man's later writing displays a loss of faith in God and his goodness. The third chapter, in specifically refuting the assertion that MacDonald's view of evil was inclusive in the Jungian or dualistic sense, shows how both authors' work maintains an unmistakable distinction between evil fortune and moral evil. The next two chapters examine fundamental similarities in their treatment of evil and goodness. Special care is taken in these two chapters to trace MacDonald's direct influence, especially regarding the differences they believed existed between hell's Pride and what they believed God to be. The fifth chapter reviews their ideas and depictions of heaven in summing up the study's argument concerning the overall influence of MacDonald's writing upon Lewis's imagination-in particular the change in Lewis's understanding of the relations between Spirits, Nature, and God.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy