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Knowing & Doing

From the Fall 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis

by Mark Neal
Author and Speaker

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  At the end of Experiment in Criticism, Lewis writes that his own eyes are not enough for him. He would see what others have seen. Even that is not enough. He would see what they have imagined. Even more, he regrets that the beasts cannot write books that would allow him to see how the world appears to the eye of a bee or mouse or how it comes charged to the olfactory sense of a dog.12 We live, as it were, in a narrow prison of self. We desperately need those other eyes to see the world rightly and to continue to expand our understanding. God calls us to live in and know this world well. We best glorify Him when we are most fully ourselves, that is, when we are most like Him and most clearly seeing His creation. The rightly used imagination helps us get there.


Page   1   2   3   4   5   6  

1 C.S. Lewis, Selected Literary Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 265.
2 Wendell Berry, Imagination in Place (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2010), 186–187.
3 C.S. Lewis, Poems, ed. Walter Hooper (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1964), 81.
4 C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1964), 74.
5 G.K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, comp. Denis J. Conlon (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991), 227.
6 Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 89.
7 Ibid., 90.
8 Gerard Manley Hopkins, Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Robert Bridges (London: Humphrey Milford, 1918), 1.
9 George Macdonald, Unspoken Sermons, 3rd series (Eureka, CA: Sunrise, 1996), 102.
10 C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (New York: Seabury, 1961), 52.
11 Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, 75.
12 C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961), 140.

Mark Neal  is the co-author of The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis: An Introduction. He has published numerous other articles, interviews on C.S. Lewis, and contributed chapters to books. He lectures both nationally and internationally. Currently the VP of digital marketing for a firm located outside of Chicago, he works with higher education, nonprofits, business and publishing. He has lectured and published on marketing, advertising and social media strategy. Mark is a graduate of Wheaton College and earned his Master’s degree in education from National Louis University. Connect with Mark at or on Twitter @MarkENeal.


Recommended Reading:
Jerry Root and Mark Neal, The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis: An Introduction (Abingdon Press, 2015)

The purpose of this book is to introduce C.S. Lewis through the prism of imagination. For Lewis, imagination is both a means and an end. And because he used his own imagination well and often, he is a practiced guide for those of us who desire to reach beyond our grasp. Each chapter highlights Lewis’s major works and then shows how Lewis uses imagination to captivate readers.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.



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