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Suppressed by Jack

The man. The myth.

Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby arowhena » 20 Dec 2009, 01:36

I don’t know about sex (well I do, but…).

Let’s try this tack.

Lewis may have been mortally embarrassed by expecting a maternal relationship with Mrs. Moore, and nothing more. Mrs. Moore rejected him -- he took it badly – and he saw his behavior for what it was; childish, immature and foolish. This is not to say that it did not create a period in his life that he would soon easily forget; rather, it impacted his psyche to the point of profound embarrassment and became something that he was just not prepared to talk about...

Remember, Lewis lost his own mother at a young age. Also, the last few chapters (concerning the sick mother) in “The Magician's Nephew,” stands out awkwardly to the story’s main plot-line. At least I thought so; and this was before I discovered that Lewis lost his mother when young.
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby larry gilman » 21 Dec 2009, 19:07

Lewis may have been mortally embarrassed by expecting a maternal relationship with Mrs. Moore, and nothing more. Mrs. Moore rejected him -- he took it badly – and he saw his behavior for what it was; childish, immature and foolish. This is not to say that it did not create a period in his life that he would soon easily forget; rather, it impacted his psyche to the point of profound embarrassment and became something that he was just not prepared to talk about...


This is all fairly plausible except for the minor difficulty that there is no evidence for it at all. Whereas there is some actual evidence (not proof, but evidence) that the Lewis/Moore relationship was sexual -- as almost all his biographers, both friendly and hostile, have agreed.

Remember, Lewis lost his own mother at a young age. Also, the last few chapters (concerning the sick mother) in “The Magician's Nephew,” stands out awkwardly to the story’s main plot-line. At least I thought so; and this was before I discovered that Lewis lost his mother when young.


Oh, there's no doubt at all about the connection of that bit of The Magician's Nephew to Lewis's own loss -- the episode is obvious autobiography-revising wish-fulfillment. Except I don't agree about the "awkwardly" part (it never struck me that way). And the fact that Lewis's grief for his boyhood loss found this fictional expression doesn't seem to me to cast any light on the Mrs. Moore thing.

Regards,

Larry
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby arowhena » 22 Dec 2009, 05:43

Larry,

Why do we tend to seek out the smuttiest of stories lines where there may only be a childish infatuation?

I attended a boy’s boarding school – if you want to find smut in Lewis’ past – look there. I know what Lewis, and hundreds of thousands of other good little English school boys know very well...

So putting that aside for now…

Just imagine your son is killed in war and his friend, who you don’t even know, shows up and tells you that he’s there to take care of you. The boy then inserts himself into the family; probably secretly hoping for a substitute mother – and the woman secretly hoping for a substitute son. Imagine this scenario, if you will – this has got to end badly -- no matter how you look at it. Personally, I think it’s a testament to Lewis’ character that a meaningful relationship of some sort did emerge, and lasted until Mrs. Moore’s death.
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby larry gilman » 23 Dec 2009, 21:39

Why do we tend to seek out the smuttiest of stories lines where there may only be a childish infatuation?


Because there’s actually some evidence that the smutty story line may be true, that’s all. Testimony from a person who lived in the household (Maureen) -- bedroom arrangements -- the opinion of Lewis’s father, who called the relationship an “affair”.

As for smuttiest, that's a straw man anyway. There’s nothing anywhere near the smut maximum about the idea of a single young man having sex with a widowed middle-aged woman whose house he inhabits. Such things happen. In fact, they happen all the time. All over this mighty land (whichever one you happen to be in), people are having sex -- illicit, kinky, ill-judged, extramarital, with animals, you name it, the liaisons are happening. The Lewis/Moore story favored by Lewis's biographers is perfectly humdrum. It offers no ammo to the religion-haters, anyway, because it all happened, if it did happen, before his conversion. There would have been nothing hypocritical in it because at that age Lewis was not preaching chastity.

I attended a boy’s boarding school – if you want to find smut in Lewis’ past – look there.


I don’t particularly want to find smut anywhere. But I accept its reality, or probability, where I find evidence for it. If I find evidence for it in more than one place, I accept its reality or probability in more than one place.

Just imagine your son is killed in war and his friend, who you don’t even know, shows up and tells you that he’s there to take care of you. The boy then inserts himself into the family; probably secretly hoping for a substitute mother – and the woman secretly hoping for a substitute son. Imagine this scenario, if you will – this has got to end badly -- no matter how you look at it. Personally, I think it’s a testament to Lewis’ character that a meaningful relationship of some sort did emerge, and lasted until Mrs. Moore’s death.


I’m perfectly willing to imagine all this: it’s only flaw is that it is imaginary. It simply ignores the actual evidence for a different narrative.

There is such a thing as biographical scandal-mongering -- a silly eagerness to conclude that Thoreau slept with Lydia Emerson, or whatnot -- but the idea that the Lewis-Moore relationship was sexual is hardly it: almost all Lewis’s biographers have been convinced that the relationship was sexual. That includes George Sayer, Kathryn Lindskoog, and Walter Hooper.

I agree, by the way, that the coda years showed Lewis's character. By all accounts Mrs. Moore made his existence miserable, but he stuck it out. He was a remarkably honorable man.

Regards,

Larry
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby arowhena » 25 Dec 2009, 12:29

I’ve only read one Lewis biography, by Hooper and Green, and I must say; it was terrible; terribly written and poorly constructed. Because I’m a fan of Lewis I stomached my way through it regardless. And so far Larry, I’m not convinced. Eventually I’ll get my hands on the other biographies and we will see if my opinion changes – until then…


Now, to your extraordinary statement “…By all accounts Mrs. Moore made his existence miserable, but he stuck it out...” (Please identify the source of this bold “statement.”)

How do we know that Mrs. Moore did not provide Lewis with inspiration and encouragement? Are these not important assets to a writer? An essential element is a writers social relationship with others – because without -- how is he to create a realistic world, no matter how fantastic?

Writers, at their core, just want to be appreciated – perhaps Lewis’ diligence to the detail of each and every word can be attributed to his Mrs. Moore. I am not saying that this was a conscious choice for Lewis. But a man alone – without a woman – is the poorest man alive. A writer alone – without a woman – has nothing to write about!

At the heart of love lies duty. Larry, you must be an atheist, a chauvinist, a Priest, a protestant, or a bachelor who, for the lack of a better understanding of the opposite sex, imagines that this duty as husband, faux-husband or even pseudo-husband, as a chore, a pit, a vice or a clever trick designed to seduce the simpleton and the idiot. Lewis could have walked away anytime.

Personally, I think we all have a lot to thank Mrs. Moore for, because regardless of the relationship and whatever their kinship, I feel that Lewis was a better man for it – we can see it in his writing. He was a happy man – engrossed and engaged in a world of his own making who, from time-to-time, was jerked back to the reality of this world by his Mrs. Moore.

Hooper and Green do allude to the fact that Lewis was expected to perform certain chores around his own home (OMG) -- and that Mrs. Moore kept him to it. Frankly, I don’t see a conspiracy here, or some sinister plot that ensnares our hero. I certainly see no evidence of misery – but I do see the story of every man who has ever loved!
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby archenland_knight » 04 Jun 2010, 21:50

I found this article to offer a very different perspective on the matter than I have seen before.

I offer it merely as an alternative point of view.
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby JRosemary » 06 Jun 2010, 03:56

archenland_knight wrote:I found this article to offer a very different perspective on the matter than I have seen before.

I offer it merely as an alternative point of view.


I didn't like this article. It makes a thorough villain out of Mrs. Moore--partly, it seems, because she was older than C. S. Lewis (whom I'll now call "Jack" because it's shorter) and partly because Jack's brother Warren didn't like her and didn't approve of whatever relationship she had with Jack.

But why should her age be a point against her? And why should we trust Warren's judgment? None of us know what the relationship was like. We only know that whatever it was, it was consensual: Jack could have walked away anytime from the "slavery" that Warren saw him in. Since Jack didn't walk away, I'll assume that he was satisfied with his relationship with Mrs. Moore, whatever it may have been.

(This reminded me of a Torah study session at my synagogue. When we were talking about Miriam criticizing her brother Moses's choice of a wife, one guy rolled his eyes. "Oh wow," he said. "Your sister doesn't like your wife. Whoever heard of that happening?" :rolleyes: Mrs. Moore wasn't Jack's wife, and their relationship may or may not have been sexual. But there's no reason I know to look down on that relationship just because his brother did.)
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby postodave » 06 Jun 2010, 08:44

Rose said: .
We only know that whatever it was, it was consensual: Jack could have walked away anytime from the "slavery" that Warren saw him in. Since Jack didn't walk away, I'll assume that he was satisfied with his relationship with Mrs. Moore, whatever it may have been.

But this shows little understanding of how an abusive relationship works. In these relationships the abused is absolutely bound to the abuser and it takes huge amounts of support and insight to walk away. I don't know to what extent Lewis's relationship with Mrs. Moore was of that type but if it was to any extent at all then we can't conclude that because he did not walk away he must have been satisfied.
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby JRosemary » 06 Jun 2010, 10:43

postodave wrote:Rose said: .
We only know that whatever it was, it was consensual: Jack could have walked away anytime from the "slavery" that Warren saw him in. Since Jack didn't walk away, I'll assume that he was satisfied with his relationship with Mrs. Moore, whatever it may have been.

But this shows little understanding of how an abusive relationship works. In these relationships the abused is absolutely bound to the abuser and it takes huge amounts of support and insight to walk away. I don't know to what extent Lewis's relationship with Mrs. Moore was of that type but if it was to any extent at all then we can't conclude that because he did not walk away he must have been satisfied.


I see your point, but I think assuming it was an abusive relationship without far more evidence is irresponsible reporting on the part of that article. Lacking conclusive evidence, I think it best to assume Jack and Mrs. Moore were both satisfied overall. Again, either could have walked away.

And I still don't think an article should villify Mrs. Moore without much more evidence to back it up--it's a terribly judgmental article, after all.
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Re: Suppressed by Jack

Postby Leslie » 07 Jun 2010, 17:17

Mrs Moore clearly exercised a sort of domestic tyranny over him as she became elderly. She constantly interrupted his work with requests for help around the house, and needed much care in her illnesses. Warnie's diary on the day of Mrs Moore's death records: "And so ends the mysterious self imposed slavery in which J has lived for at least thirty years."

I don't know if it should be called 'abuse', but she certainly was more a burden than a delight to him in the last ten years or so of her life. Why she should have become like that is open to speculation: perhaps ill health (she is thought to have suffered a form of dementia, and she had [probably painful] varicose ulcers on her legs); as she was a "convinced and passionate atheist", according to Alan Jacobs in The Narnian, perhaps she resented his conversion to Christianity and had grown to dislike him.

He could have walked away, perhaps -- but the impression I get is that he felt responsible for her care, no matter what she said or did. He no doubt felt that as a Christian he was called to bear the burden of her demands.

Apparently Maureen, Mrs Moore's daughter, helped out with her care after she had left the Lewis-Moore household, but Lewis seems to have felt that he was primarily responsible, perhaps out of the promise he may have made to Paddy Moore. BTW, it is entirely possible that Lewis both made this promise to Paddy and later fell in love with Mrs Moore - the two are not incompatible. Thus, even if Lewis eventually fell out of love with her, or considered that as a Christian he could live only platonically with her, as she was still technically married to Mr Moore (or a combination of the two), he would still want to honour his promise.
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"At myself. My little puny self," said Phillipa.
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