Friday, December 4, 2015

Good Story 122: Leaf by Niggle and The Great Divorce

Julie and Scott spend an episode in Purgatory. Scott somewhat enjoyed the bus ride (except the violent part), and Julie came back with a pile of intricate leaves. In Episode 122, two stories for the price of one: Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

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  1. What an interesting juxtaposition of two stories. I've read "The Great Divorce" a couple of times and it is certainly one of those novels that is fresh on a reread. Hated the title which initially kept me from reading it. "The Great Chasm" would have been better for the allusion to Luke 16:26.

    I read "Leaf by Niggle" for the first time this year. A story that I had seen so highly recommended. Totally enjoyed it. I had actually read a collection (Tales from the Perilous Realm) that contained all his short stories along with some essays. So many great short stories including one I had never heard of called "Roverrandum". A case I think that once again we can be thankful for his storytelling to his children. The essays were the ones regarding fairy stories, which pretty much blew me away and were so quotable.

    As for Lewis and Purgatory, he certainly had the Catholic belief in it and this shows up in both his fiction and nonfiction. He really was so Catholic in thought and no doubt his Ulster prejudices kept him from the Church. His brother and personal secretary did enter the Church though. In many ways he was a guide to Catholic thought, but just couldn't enter himself.

    Like Julie I also ended up reading and rereading a lot of Lewis this year. Mere Christianity was a reread and mostly it is pretty good. Although he goes totally awry when discussing marriage in his arguments. Still there is hardly anything I don't like regarding his books with "Till We Have Faces" being my favorite.

    As for George MacDonald. I totally love his books. There all pretty much available on Project Gutenberg. The Princess and the Goblin was great along with the sequel. As was Phantastes. I can easily see while he was so influential with his story telling using Faire stories as the framework. So Christian, yet without all the heavy-handed allegory (Yes Tolkien was right over Lewis here.) We also oh him a debt in his mentoring and encouragement regarding Lewis Carroll (Rev. Dodgson). I take it from the conversation that neither of you have read him - I think you will be totally delighted by him.

    1. I actually have read The Princess and the Goblin. Totally loved it. It is on LibriVox with a great narration. It left me interested in reading more of MacDonald's writing, but I just haven't gotten around to it. And, I agree, he is much less heavy handed than Lewis was in Christian allegory!