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C.S. Lewis: "The starting point of the second novel, Perelandra, was my mental picture of the floating islands. The whole of the rest of my labours in a sense consisted of building up a world in which floating islands could exist. And then of course the story about an averted fall developed. This is because, as you know, having got your people to this exciting country, something must happen."
Kingsley Amis: "That frequently taxes people very much."
Brian Aldiss: "But I am surprised that you put it this way round. I would have thought that you constructed Perelandra for the didactic purpose."
C.S. Lewis: "Yes, everyone thinks that. They are quite wrong."

(From a fascinating discussion between the three a few months before Lewis's death in 1963, published as "Unreal Estates" in the Spectrum IV anthology. As the fiftieth anniversary is coming up, perhaps someone might reprint it in full?)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
gareth_rees
Aug. 2nd, 2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
I believe this. Pretty much all Lewis's writing has a strong didactic element, so there was no need for him to start from the moral: it was sure to enter the work soon enough.
nwhyte
Aug. 2nd, 2012 03:05 pm (UTC)
To lighten the tone (?), Lewis ends the conversation with a story about "the Bishop of Exeter, who was giving the prizes at a girls' school. They did a performance of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', and the poor man stood up afterwards and made a speech and said, 'I was very interested in your delightful performance, and among other things I was very interested in seeing for the first time in my life a female Bottom.'"
ooxc
Aug. 2nd, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
It's also in a collection of CSL's shorter works - Christian Reflections, I think it's called - but I don't know if it's still in print - I bought it in the 1960s

Edited at 2012-08-02 05:22 pm (UTC)
gareth_rees
Aug. 2nd, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
"Unreal Estates" has been reprinted in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (Mariner Books, 2002), On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature (Harvest Books, 2002) and in C. S. Lewis Remembered (Zondervan, 2006). Much of it is readable on Google Books.

Edited at 2012-08-02 08:32 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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