Hilder, Monika B.
The Feminine Ethos in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia
Preface by Elizabeth Baird Hardy
Year of Publication: 2012
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XVI, 206 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1817-3 hb. (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-4539-0900-3 (eBook)
Weight: 0.430 kg, 0.948 lbs
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C. S. Lewis, fantasy novelist, literary scholar, and Christian apologist, is one of the most original and well-known literary figures of the twentieth century. As one who stood at the crossroads of Edwardian and modern thinking, he is often read as a sexist or even misogynistic man of his time, but this fresh rereading assesses Lewis as a prescient thinker who transformed typical Western gender paradigms. The Feminine Ethos in C. S. Lewis's 'Chronicles of Narnia' proposes that Lewis's highly nuanced metaphorical view of gender relations has been misunderstood precisely because it challenges Western chauvinist assumptions on sex and gender. Instead of perpetuating sexism, Lewis subverts the culturally inherited chauvinism of «masculine» classical heroism with the biblically inspired vision of a surprisingly «feminine» spiritual heroism. His view that we are all «feminine» in relation to the «masculine» God - a theological feminism that crosses gender lines - means that qualities we tend to consider to be feminine, such as humility, are the qualities essential to being fully human. This book's theoretical framework is Lewis's own, grounded in his view of biblical thinking, as he was informed by writers such as Milton, Wordsworth, and George MacDonald, and in terms of the uniquely progressive implications for twentieth-first century cultural studies. This highly insightful and entertaining study of theological feminism in Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia will be compelling for anyone interested in children's and fantasy literature, Inklings scholarship, gender discourse, ethical and spiritual discourse, literature and theology, and cultural studies in general.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
Monika B. Hilder is Associate Professor of English at Trinity Western University, where she teaches children's and fantasy literature. She obtained her PhD at Simon Fraser University in literature education, for which she received the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal for Academic Excellence. She has previously published on C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, L. M. Montgomery, Madeleine L'Engle, and literature as ethical imagination. She is a 2011 recipient of the Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant from the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College, Illinois.
«Presented in a clear and engaging literary style, Monika B. Hilder's exhaustive study not only exposes the shortcomings of all sexist readings of Lewis's works, but it also convincingly demonstrates how his theological feminism evenhandedly attributes the same range of characteristics to both genders. With this book, Hilder is making an essential contribution to Lewis studies.» (Rolland Hein, Professor Emeritus of English, Wheaton College)
Studies in Twentieth-Century British Literature. Vol. 10
General Editor: Karen Marguerite Radell