C.S. Lewis, “The Pilgrim’s Regress”

These are just a few notes I made; as a fan of just about everything Lewis wrote, I’m hesitant to post something so limited on an extended work of his, fearing that someone might think this is all I thought noteworthy.  With that caveat, here’s what I happened to jot down:

  • I thought important this passage (204):  “… that unnameable something, the desire for which pierces us like a rapier at [a] the smell of a bonfire, [b] the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, [c] the title of The Well at the World’s End, [d] the opening lines of ‘Kubla Khan,’ [e] the morning cobwebs in late summer, or [f] the noise of falling waves?”
  • He’s critical here of Catholicism, along Protestant lines (viz., no middleman needed) (93-95, book six, ch. III).  This chapter seems to say there is nothing wrong with being motivated by a desire for heavenly experiences (why would Catholics oppose this, I wonder?).  More startlingly, he suggests Catholic sympathy for Fascism/Naziism (102, book six, ch. VII).
  • Lewis, and Chesterton, really do seem to have an agrarian/anticapitalist, antimodern strain (as is made clear in various Pilgrim’s Regress episodes); as the passage quoted in the first bullet above shows, he is also very poetic — he calls it a specially defined “romanticism” — and indeed the search for that “unnameable something” is what initiates the pilgrim’s search here, rather than truth per se (but the two are not separated:  Heaven/unity with God is not antitruth and it is that unnameable something).