Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The blue flower is a key symbol in German Romanticism; it first appeared in a dream scene in an unfinished novel by the poet Novalis and it stands for unappeasable, mystic desire. [C.S.] Lewis christened this complicated emotion "Joy," and his autobiography is less about the prosaic details of his material life than about his search for Joy and its meaning.

Joy, as Lewis defined it, was "an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction."


The important thing to understand about Joy, Lewis insisted, is that "it is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still 'about to be.'" In some ways, it resembles the lethal nostalgia A.E. Housman described in A Shropshire Lad:

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

- The Magician's Book by Laura Miller

I never want this book to end. I started reading it because I was like, Oh no! There's a new book about Narnia! My book is about Narnia! But, of course, my book is completely different and is only about Narnia so that I can make panda jokes, while this book is scholarly and nimble and lovely and wonderful. Can someone be reverent and skeptical at the same time? If so, Laura Miller is and it is good.

1 comment:

David said...

blue flowers! cs lewis! mors ontologica! awesome.