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Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby JDMalament » 10 May 2010, 16:47

So, I was going through my notes for The Problem of Pain and I came across something that was unclear to me. In Chapter 6: "Human Pain,"
C.S. Lewis wrote:"Even atheists rebel and express, like Hardy and Housman, their rage against God although (or because) He does not, in their view exist: and other atheists, like Mr. Huxley, are driven by suffering to raise the whole problem of existence and to find some way of coming to terms with it . . . [Emphasis Mine]," Page 93, HarperCollins Edition, 2001

Now, I'm pretty sure that by "Hardy," he is referring to Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), author of Far From the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge. However, I am unclear about the other two. "Houseman" seems like it could be either Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) or Laurence Housman (1865-1959). As for "Huxley," it could be anyone from the Huxley family, although it is probably either Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), Julian Huxley (1887-1975), or Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).

Does anybody happen to know specifically who Lewis is referring to? I'm hoping to lead a study group in my area, sometime in early Autumn and The Problem of Pain is one of the books we might use. I thought that it might be helpful to have this information, just in case someone (besides myself) asks. Thanks!

- Jared
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby Nerd42 » 10 May 2010, 20:11

I assumed Huxley was Aldous Huxley. No idea if my assumption was correct or not. As for the other two, no idea, but Aldous Huxley seemed like the obvious answer to the third one to me.
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby Sven » 10 May 2010, 20:19

I can't say that I know, but I suspect it's Thomas Hardy, A. E. Houseman (whom Lewis read, at least A Shropshire Lad), and Aldous Huxley.

C. S. Lewis wrote:...real paganism at it's best, which is the next best thing to Christianity, and so utterly different from the nonsense that passes under the name of paganism in, say, Swinburne or Aldous Huxley.

C. S. Lewis Collected Letters volume II
letter to Arthur Greeves 6 December 1931
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby JDMalament » 10 May 2010, 22:59

Thanks guys! I was leaning towards A.E. Housman, but as Sven said, you can't know for sure. As for the Huxley's, Aldous was certainly my first guess, but I discovered that the other two were particularly well known for their atheism and T.H. Huxley's nickname was "Darwin's bulldog."

- Jared
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby Nerd42 » 11 May 2010, 20:53

JDMalament wrote:Thanks guys! I was leaning towards A.E. Housman, but as Sven said, you can't know for sure. As for the Huxley's, Aldous was certainly my first guess, but I discovered that the other two were particularly well known for their atheism and T.H. Huxley's nickname was "Darwin's bulldog."

- Jared
Yeah but Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" wasn't all that old at the time Lewis was writing. If he meant an earlier Huxley, he would have had to specify it. Like nowadays, a random reference to Homer would be assumed by the average person to refer to Homer Simpson. You have to specify Homer the poet these days LOL :)
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby JDMalament » 11 May 2010, 21:38

Nerd42 wrote:Yeah but Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" wasn't all that old at the time Lewis was writing. If he meant an earlier Huxley, he would have had to specify it. Like nowadays, a random reference to Homer would be assumed by the average person to refer to Homer Simpson. You have to specify Homer the poet these days LOL :)

Actually, Aldous's older brother, Julian, was also alive and kickin' at the same time as Lewis. Julian Huxley worked as an evolutionary biologist and he was a prominent supporter of the eugenics movement, which Lewis opposed. So, while Aldous was certainly known for Brave New World by the time Lewis wrote The Problem of Pain, he wasn't the only famous Huxley during Lewis's lifetime.

- Jared
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby Nerd42 » 12 May 2010, 01:49

JDMalament wrote:
Nerd42 wrote:Yeah but Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" wasn't all that old at the time Lewis was writing. If he meant an earlier Huxley, he would have had to specify it. Like nowadays, a random reference to Homer would be assumed by the average person to refer to Homer Simpson. You have to specify Homer the poet these days LOL :)

Actually, Aldous's older brother, Julian, was also alive and kickin' at the same time as Lewis. Julian Huxley worked as an evolutionary biologist and he was a prominent supporter of the eugenics movement, which Lewis opposed. So, while Aldous was certainly known for Brave New World by the time Lewis wrote The Problem of Pain, he wasn't the only famous Huxley during Lewis's lifetime.

- Jared
Hmm. In that case, maybe he WANTED to leave it ambigious :)

eugenics is straight up evil.
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Re: Question Concerning "The Problem of Pain"

Postby agingjb » 04 Jun 2010, 20:25

Aldous Huxley's "The Perennial Philosophy" doesn't suggest that he was an atheist, although I doubt if CSL would have found it to be more than an interesting anthology. But that book was written after "The Problem of Pain". It could be of course, however unlikely it may seem, that Aldous Huxley's publicly expressed views changed from atheism to a sort of theism over time.

More relevantly, the use of "Mr Huxley" rather than "Huxley" does imply a reference to a writer living at the time of writing (1940), which would exclude Thomas Huxley.
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