By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom
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Additional resources for C. S. Lewis (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
Focused on what Jack thought adults were interested in, politics, they completely lack the romance and imagination of his later writings. He was driven to write by “extreme manual clumsiness,” Lewis recalls. 3 Their writings were undoubtedly encouraged by their mother, Flora Hamilton, a writer and a brilliant mathematician, who had received her degree in Mathematics and Logic from Queen’s College in Belfast in 1885. Her son Jack unfortunately did not inherit her mathematical ability. He failed Responsions in Mathematics—an entrance examination roughly equivalent to our Scholastic Aptitude Test—and was fully accepted at Oxford only when that requirement was waived for veterans; no matter how hard he tried, the sums always came out wrong.
One of many legends about it was set down by John Leyerle, now Professor of English at the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto. ” Lewis replied, “As usual, Selig, you missed the point. ” “Surely not everything you’ve ever read, Mr. ” Selig put him to the test of Lydgate’s “Siege of Thebes,” a sufficiently obscure work. 21 Others recall that given one line of Paradise Lost, he could usually recite the next line, or that he could recite a passage from memory if given its location in his library, minus title or author.
He comes 28 Margaret Blount frequently into the early books like an Old Testament Jehovah and less in the later ones. The most memorable occasions are those of the two girls’ ride on his back in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and at the end of ‘Prince Caspian’ where he joins Bacchus, the Maenads, animals and trees in a glorious game that overcomes everything—even old age, tyranny and death. ’ When the Talking Beasts meet him they greet him as the King of the Beasts, and not with words. He seems to speak to their innocent goodness.