purgatorialpurgationForsaken Soul
Anglican theologian C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), reflecting on the history of the doctrine of purgatory in the Anglican Communion, said there were good reasons for "casting doubt on the 'Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory' as that Romish doctrine had then become" not merely a "commercial scandal" but also the picture in which the souls are tormented by devils, whose presence is "more horrible and grievous to us than is the pain itself," and where the spirit who suffers the tortures cannot, for pain, "remember God as he ought to do." Lewis believed instead in purgatory as presented in John Henry Newman's The Dream of Gerontius.


eternal punishmentinfernoinfernal
C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce (1945) borrows its title from William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793) and its inspiration from the Divine Comedy as the narrator is likewise guided through Hell and Heaven. Hell is portrayed here as an endless, desolate twilight city upon which night is imperceptibly sinking. The night is actually the Apocalypse, and it heralds the arrival of the demons after their judgment. Before the night comes, anyone can escape Hell if they leave behind their former selves and accept Heaven's offer, and a journey to Heaven reveals that Hell is infinitely small; it is nothing more or less than what happens to a soul that turns away from God and into itself.

Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy describes Dante's journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso); he is first guided by the Roman poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, the subject of his love (and of another of his works, La Vita Nuova). While the vision of Hell, the Inferno, is vivid for most modern readers, the theological niceties presented in the other books require a certain amount of patience and knowledge to appreciate.

Courtly love

In 1936 C. S. Lewis wrote The Allegory of Love further solidifying courtly love as a "love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love". Later, historians such as D. W. Robertson, Jr., in the 1960s and John C. Moore and E. Talbot Donaldson in the 1970s, were critical of the term as being a modern invention, Donaldson calling it "The Myth of Courtly Love", because it is not supported in medieval texts.

William Blake

BlakeBlakeanBlake, William
A Song of Liberty (edited 1792, published in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). The Four Zoas* (written 1797–1807, unfinished). Tiriel* (written c. 1789, edited 1874). Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life (1791). John Gay, Fables by John Gay with a Life of the Author, John Stockdale, Picadilly (1793). Gottfried August Bürger, Leonora (not engraved by him) (1796). Edward Young, Night-Thoughts (1797). Robert Blair, The Grave (1805–1808). John Milton, Paradise Lost (1808). John Varley, Visionary Heads (1819–1820). Robert John Thornton, Virgil (1821). The Book of Job (1823–1826). John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1824–1827, unfinished). Dante, Divine Comedy (1825–1827).

The Chronicles of Narnia

NarniaChronicles of NarniaNarnia books
Jacobs, Alan The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis, HarperSanFrancisco, 2005. McIntosh, Kenneth Following Aslan: A Book of Devotions for Children, Anamchara Books, 2006. Ward, Michael Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, Oxford University Press, 2008. C. S. Lewis entry at BBC Religions. The secret of the wardrobe BBC News, 18 November 2005.

Seven deadly sins

greeddeadly sindeadly sins
The Divine Comedy ("Inferno", "Purgatorio", and "Paradiso"), by Dante Alighieri. Summa Theologica, by Thomas Aquinas. The Concept of Sin, by Josef Pieper. The Traveller's Guide to Hell, by Michael Pauls & Dana Facaros. Sacred Origins of Profound Things, by Charles Panati. The Faerie Queene, by Edmund Spenser. The Seven Deadly Sins Series, Oxford University Press (7 vols.). Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, (Grand Rapids: BrazosPress, 2009). Solomon Schimmel, The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).

Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy SayersSayers, Dorothy L.Dorothy L. Sayer
Sayers and Reginald Hill's Divine Comedy', in Of Modern Dragons and other essays on Genre Fiction (Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007), pp. 33–55. ISBN: 978-1-84760-038-7. Loades, Ann. "Dorothy L. Sayers: War and Redemption." In Hein, David, and Edward Henderson, eds. C. S. Lewis and Friends: Faith and the Power of Imagination, pp. 53–70. London: SPCK, 2011. Nelson, Victoria, L. is for Sayers: A Play in Five Acts (Dreaming Spires Publications, 2012) ISBN: 0-615-53872-X. Prescott, Barbara, Lyric Muse: The Oxford Poetry of Dorothy L. Sayers. (©2017, Prepublication Ms.). Webster, Peter, 'Archbishop Temple's offer of a Lambeth degree to Dorothy L. Sayers'.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Proverbs of Hell
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is probably the most influential of Blake's works. Its vision of a dynamic relationship between a stable "Heaven" and an energized "Hell" has fascinated theologians, aestheticians and psychologists. Aldous Huxley took the name of one of his most famous works, The Doors of Perception, from this work, which in turn also inspired the name of the American rock band The Doors. Huxley's contemporary C. S. Lewis wrote The Great Divorce about the divorce of Heaven and Hell, in response to Blake's Marriage. According to Michel Surya, the writer Georges Bataille threw pages of Blake's book into the casket of his friend and lover Colette Peignot on her death in 1938.

The Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim's ProgressChristianBeulah
C. S. Lewis wrote a book inspired by The Pilgrim's Progress, called The Pilgrim's Regress, in which a character named John follows a vision to escape from The Landlord, a less friendly version of The Owner in The Pilgrim's Regress. It is an allegory of C. S. Lewis' own journey from a religious childhood to a pagan adulthood in which he rediscovers his Christian God. Henry Williamson's The Patriot's Progress references the title of The Pilgrim's Progress and the symbolic nature of John Bunyan's work. The protagonist of the semi-autobiographical novel is John Bullock, the quintessential English soldier during World War I.

Epic poetry

epic poemepicepics
Famous examples of epic poetry include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Indian Mahabharata and Rāmāyaṇa, the Tamil Silappatikaram, the Persian Shahnameh, the Ancient Greek Odyssey and Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, the Old English Beowulf, Dante's Divine Comedy, the Finnish Kalevala, the German Nibelungenlied, the French Song of Roland, the Spanish Cantar de mio Cid, the Portuguese Os Lusíadas, John Milton's Paradise Lost, and Adam Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz. The first epics were products of preliterate societies and oral history poetic traditions. Oral tradition was used alongside written scriptures to communicate and facilitate the spread of culture.


justequitycivil justice
A response, popularized in two contexts by Immanuel Kant and C. S. Lewis, is that it is deductively valid to argue that the existence of an objective morality implies the existence of God and vice versa. For advocates of the theory that justice is part of natural law (e.g., John Locke), it involves the system of consequences that naturally derives from any action or choice. In this, it is similar to the laws of physics: in the same way as the Third of Newton's laws of Motion requires that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, justice requires according individuals or groups what they actually deserve, merit, or are entitled to.


St. BonaventureSaint BonaventureBonaventura
His main argument for the immortality of the soul appeals to humans' natural desire for perfect happiness, and is reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's argument from desire. Contrary to Aquinas, Bonaventure did not believe that philosophy was an autonomous disciple that could be pursued successfully independently of theology. Any philosopher is bound to fall into serious error, he believed, who lacks the light of faith. A master of the memorable phrase, Bonaventure held that philosophy opens the mind to at least three different routes humans can take on their journey to God.


lionsAfrican lionmane
Lions continue to appear in modern literature as characters including the messianic Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and following books from The Chronicles of Narnia series written by C. S. Lewis, and the comedic Cowardly Lion in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Lion symbolism was used from the advent of cinema; one of the most iconic and widely recognised lions is Leo, which has been the mascot for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios since the 1920s. The 1960s saw the appearance of the Kenyan lioness Elsa in the movie Born Free, which is based on the factual book of the same title.

Late Middle Ages

late medievallate medieval periodlate mediaeval
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, written in the early 14th century, merged a medieval world view with classical ideals. Another promoter of the Italian language was Boccaccio with his Decameron. The application of the vernacular did not entail a rejection of Latin, and both Dante and Boccaccio wrote prolifically in Latin as well as Italian, as would Petrarch later (whose Canzoniere also promoted the vernacular and whose contents are considered the first modern lyric poems). Together the three poets established the Tuscan dialect as the norm for the modern Italian language.

Paradise Lost

epic poemsame nameAwake, arise, or be forever fall'n.
In a similar vein, critic and writer C.S. Lewis argued that there was no contradiction in Milton's position in the poem since "Milton believed that God was his 'natural superior' and that Charles Stuart was not." Lewis interpreted the poem as a genuine Christian morality tale. Other critics, like William Empson, view it as a more ambiguous work, with Milton's complex characterization of Satan playing a large part in that perceived ambiguity. Empson argued that "Milton deserves credit for making God wicked, since the God of Christianity is 'a wicked God.'" Leonard places Empson's interpretation "in the [Romantic interpretive] tradition of William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley."

Christian literature

ChristianliteratureChristian books
The Screwtape Letters (1942) - C. S. Lewis. The Robe (1942) - Lloyd C. Douglas. The Great Divorce (1945) - C. S. Lewis. Doctor Faustus (1947) - Thomas Mann. The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-1956) - C. S. Lewis. The Holy Sinner (Der Erwählte) (1951) - Thomas Mann. An Angel Comes to Babylon (play) (1953) - Friedrich Dürrenmatt. The Last Temptation of Christ (1953) (novel) - Nikos Kazantzakis. Christ Recrucified (The Greek Passion) (1954) - Nikos Kazantzakis. Hinds' Feet on High Places (1955) - Hannah Hurnard. Saint Francis (1956) (novel) - Nikos Kazantzakis. The Agony and the Ecstasy (1961) - Irving Stone. The Cross and the Switchblade (1962) - David Wilkerson.

Christian novel

Christianchristian fictionfiction
Christian novels have a rich tradition in Europe, which goes back several centuries, and draws on past Christian allegorical literature, such as Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and The Holy War. Twentieth century proponents of the Christian novel in English include J.R.R. Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. Aslan in Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe allegorically represents Christ, for example, while L'Engle's A Live Coal in the Sea explicitly references the medieval allegorical poem Piers Plowman. Many novels with Christian themes also fall into specific mainstream fiction genres. For example, J.R.R.

Planets in science fiction

fictional planetfictionalfictional planets
In C. S. Lewis's Perelandra, Venus is an ocean planet with floating islands. Stanisław Lem's Solaris is a planet entirely covered by a sentient ocean. The protagonists in vain try to communicate with the ocean. Jack Vance's The Blue World takes place on a planet entirely covered by ocean. The survivors of a crashed prison ship make their homes on giant floating plants. The ocean is also home to giant, semi-intelligent squid-like predators. Kamino in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, an ocean planet inhabited by an indigenous sentient species. Thalassa in The Songs of Distant Earth, a novel by Arthur C. Clarke.

Inferno (Niven and Pournelle novel)

InfernoInferno (novel)Inferno'' (Niven and Pournelle novel)
Inferno is a fantasy novel written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, published in 1976. It was nominated for the 1976 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel. The book drew inspiration from the geography of Dante's Inferno and the theology of C S Lewis's The Great Divorce, which is that salvation and entry into paradise, via self-knowledge and repentance, can be achieved by all. However, most of Hell's denizens in the novel either deny their sins or feel they deserve their fate. Inferno is based upon the hell described in Dante's Inferno. However, it adds a modern twist to the story.