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Ch 0a: The Discarded Image: Welcome, Intro, and Purposes

For the Medieval Dinosaur in all of us.

Ch 0a: The Discarded Image: Welcome, Intro, and Purposes

Postby Stanley Anderson » 23 Jan 2007, 17:59

Welcome to this forum about perhaps my favourite non-fiction book by C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image! (often to be abbreviated in this study as "TDI")

Here are my ideas about how I am going to proceed with the “study” (I use the term loosely). But I want to be clear that I am not setting down many rules here. The things I mention below are only my own suggestions to try out. One thing that I will maintain, at least for a while, is the sole ability to start new threads. This will allow me to keep the organization of the study under control. But anyone (among the registered members anyway) is encouraged to post to and participate and engage in any of the existing threads and discussions. And please feel free to pm me (or post to this introductory thread) with any suggestions or concerns about the discussion process.

Many of my opening comments in each thread will be culled or copied directly from the study I started and never finished (we got to chapter V before the study sort of died out) back in 2003. I may also summarize various comments made by others in that earlier study – Monica was a regular contributor to that study and many of her comments then were of great interest. And of course I will add any new thoughts that occur to me during the study.

Because there is a lot of material, both in ideas and references in the text, I want to go slowly through the book. I will start various threads for each chapter allowing a few days to a week or so for discussion between each thread as we progress through the book. Each thread will cover (consecutively) only a few pages of the book at the most, I hope, allowing us to both read the passage and comment on it and carry on discussions without too much commitment of large chunks of precious time (as opposed to doing a whole chapter at a time).

Feel free to add comments at any time to earlier threads. Because each section is a separate thread, comments added to it will not disrupt the flow of the current thread. And note that comments and discussion can refer to larger sections or overarching themes than may be in the particular passage under discussion. If it seems useful, I may even try to have an “overall chapter” or “book-so-far” thread at the end of each chapter for discussion of those possibly “larger” themes. But I’m not sure about that -- we’ll see how it goes.

One problem with this method is conveniently identifying the section that the sub-thread is addressing. The edition I have is published by Cambridge University Press and has a dark blue block over most of the front cover with the title broken up in lines “The Dis/carded/Image” in large red calligraphic lettering. In case other editions are typeset differently, I will identify the pages in my edition that a particular thread discusses along with the opening and ending phrases and the number of paragraphs in that section.

As a test of the editions’ compatibility, I'll provide some reference points – when you finally receive your copy of the book and have it handy, can you confirm whether or not your copy has the same page numbering? Here are some examples: just before the index at the end of the book, the Epilogue’s text ends on page 223 with “…and what pattern it will suggest.” Page 200 is about two pages into chapter VIII, “The Influence of the Model” and its text on that page begins “…first dealt with medieval literature.” Page 100 is about in the middle of chapter V, “The Heavens” and text on that page begins “…do more for you than he.”

This "edition test" will also conveniently help identify potential initial participants in the study, though of course anyone is welcome at any time to join in – or drop out (I recognize time constraints can change) -- even after the study is already underway. And even if you don't have the book or are not reading it at this time, you may still have useful comments to make.

Finally, I would encourage any type of comments that people might have about the section under discussion, but as a guideline – just to provide a possible catalyst for generating comments – I suggest we especially think of any cases where what Lewis is saying in the book reflects in some way on his other books, particularly the Narnian books and the Space Trilogy. This aspect particularly struck me in my last reading of The Discarded Image. I have said often on these forums that the Space Trilogy, and That Hidous Strength in particular, seem almost like fictional manifestations of what Lewis talks about in TDI.

Of course TDI will hopefully generate comments about a variety of other topics too, but I just wanted to have at least one seed of a theme to look for while going through the book. And please, please, don’t think your comments have to reach some level of profundity to be postable here. Lighthearted or heavy, wild conjecture or deep contemplation, long-winded or short one-line title posts, or anything between and around -- any comments are always welcome.

I’ll probably start the study (beginning with the Preface – even that has interest for me!:-) in a few days. In the meantime, please post anything here about the edition page numbering you discover, or your thoughts about the methodology I’ve proposed or any other introductory comments.

Looking forward to the discussions,
--Stanley
Last edited by Stanley Anderson on 29 May 2007, 22:16, edited 1 time in total.
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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tagline considerations

Postby Stanley Anderson » 23 Jan 2007, 20:23

By the way, John has asked me what sort of tagline I wanted for the forum title. After only a couple minutes' thought, I suggested "For the Medieval Dinosaur in all of us" in light of the fact that Lewis referred to himself as a dinosaur and TDI so brightly reflects his enjoyment and love of, and identification with, the Medieval world view.

Not sure if it seems too corny though. What do you think?

--Stanley
(edited a typo)
Last edited by Stanley Anderson on 23 Jan 2007, 21:02, edited 1 time in total.
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Re: The Discarded Image: Welcome, Introduction, and Purposes

Postby Sven » 23 Jan 2007, 20:32

Stanley Anderson wrote:As a test of the editions’ compatibility, I'll provide some reference points – when you finally receive your copy of the book and have it handy, can you confirm whether or not your copy has the same page numbering? Here are some examples: just before the index at the end of the book, the Epilogue’s text ends on page 223 with “…and what pattern it will suggest.” Page 200 is about two pages into chapter VIII, “The Influence of the Model” and its text on that page begins “…first dealt with medieval literature.” Page 100 is about in the middle of chapter V, “The Heavens” and text on that page begins “…do more for you than he.”


Cambridge University Press' "Canto" paperback has the same pagination, though a different cover design (a detail from the 'Garden of Pleasure' page of a Flemish edition of La Roman de la rose).

The 'Dinosaur' tag lines sounds perfect, go with it :pleased:
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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Postby Leslie » 24 Jan 2007, 04:10

I have the CUP Canto edition as well.
"What are you laughing at?"
"At myself. My little puny self," said Phillipa.
--Rumer Godden, In This House of Brede
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Postby girlfreddy » 25 Jan 2007, 20:48

One problem with this method is conveniently identifying the section that the sub-thread is addressing. The edition I have is published by Cambridge University Press and has a dark blue block over most of the front cover with the title broken up in lines “The Dis/carded/Image” in large red calligraphic lettering. In case other editions are typeset differently, I will identify the pages in my edition that a particular thread discusses along with the opening and ending phrases and the number of paragraphs in that section.

I have the same one as you Stanley. Got it today. Yeah!!! :grin:
How would telling people to be nice to one another get a man crucified? What government would execute Mister Rogers or Captain Kangaroo?
Philip Yancey

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Postby Stanley Anderson » 25 Jan 2007, 23:25

girlfreddy wrote:I have the same one as you Stanley. Got it today. Yeah!!! :grin:


Great. I think I'll wait until next week to actually start on chapter 1 to give a bit more time to the "preface" discussion and to let the book "settle" since you just got it, and not least, because I'm suddenly very busy and I probably need some time. We'll see.

But one thing I want to say is that my inital comments on the preface were pretty extensive and I DON'T expect that to be the norm. So I hope no one is overwhelmed and reluctant to dive in. Any comments are welcome, extensive or short.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 26 Jan 2007, 20:59

By the way, in working on my comments for the first part of chapter one, I am reminded of something I meant to mention earlier. For those interested, a very wonderful, though perhaps just a tad more on the scholarly side (though not much -- don't be dissuaded) companion book to The Discarded Image is Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (abbr. "SiMaRL" or "SMRL") which consists of a collection of essays, lectures, and unpublished manuscripts dealing specifically with Medieval and Renaissance subjects.

There is a wide variety of works in there and at least a couple of them are, as editor Hooper mentions in the preface, almost a precis of The Discarded Image. I highly recommend this book on its own, but it also adds a lot the the discussions in TDI (I will be referring to parts of it occasionally in the current study -- but only as interesting side points or points of reference. I won't assume the readers here have read it or even have it available if I make references to it. My main hope would be that any quotes or comments about it will serve only to entice people to want to read it too:-)

--Stanley
(edited to add note about abbreviation above)
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 05 Mar 2007, 16:50

After noticing the look of the thread subject lines, I am going to try to add letters after the Chapter numbers so that it will be easier for newcomers to see the proper order of the threads. It is technically possible to do this right now with the page numbers, but it is awkward and difficult to sort out visually.

So for instance, I'll put Ch 1a, Ch 1b, Ch 1c, Ch 2a, Ch 2b, Ch 2c, etc (still leaving the page number portion at the end) so that one can easily follow the correct progression of thread if they get out of order because of later posting to earlier threads.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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