Ex Libris Kirkland

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First Written 1960
Genre Philosophy
Publisher Harcourt
ISBN-10 0156329301
My Copy cheap paperback
First Read July 01, 2013

The Four Loves

I always laughed at my memory of that marriage = crucifixion line, but found on this reading that it was very carefully couched. But I'm still going to continue quoting it.

Noted on January 11, 2014

In the 'friendship' section, Lewis' comments about the exclusivity of male friendship come off as really very sexist. But perhaps they'll only seem outlandish and quaint in another fifty years or so, I don't know.

He does a good job contextualizing that distinction as highly cultural and not "natural" It's important but difficult to keep that in mind - that he knows he's speaking of midcentury England, and calls out that this idea only necessarily applies in a culture where men receive entirely different sorts of education than women.

Noted on December 31, 2013

I read this back in college (and maybe high school), but I'm rereading now as part of my 'Read Lewis as an Adult' project .

Noted on July 1, 2013

Where men are educated and women not, where one sex works and the other is idle, or where they do totally different work, they will usually have nothing to be Friends about. But we can easily see that it is this lack, rather than anything in their natures, which excludes Friendship; for where they can be companions they can also become Friends.

Quoted on January 11, 2014

Are we not our true selves when naked? In a sense, no. The word naked was originally a past participle; the naked man was the man who had undergone a process of naking, that is, of stripping or peeling (you used the verb of nuts and fruit). Time out of mind the naked man has seemed to our ancestors not the natural but the abnormal man; not the man who has abstained from dressing but the man who has been for some reason undressed.

Quoted on January 11, 2014

Perhaps, for many of us, all experience merely defines, so to speak, the shape of the gap where our love of God ought to be. It is not enough. It is something. If we cannot "practise the presence of God," it is something to practice the absence of God, to become increasingly aware of our unawareness until we feel like men who should stand beside a great cataract and hear no noise, or like a man in a story who looks in a mirror and finds no face there, or a man in a dream who stretches out his hand to visible objects and gets no sensation of touch. To know that one is dreaming is to be no longer perfectly asleep.

Quoted on January 11, 2014

The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. ... This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion.

Quoted on January 11, 2014

For some people, perhaps especially for Englishmen and Russians, what we call "the love of nature" is a permanent and serious sentiment. I mean here that love of nature which cannot be adequately classified simply as an instance of our love for beauty. Of course many natural objects trees, flowers and animals are beautiful But the nature-lovers whom I have in mind are not very much concerned with individual beautiful objects of that sort. The man who is distracts them. An enthusiastic botanist is for them a dreadful companion on a ramble. He is always stopping to draw their attention to particulars. Nor are they looking for "views" or landscapes. Wordsworth, their spokesman, strongly deprecates this. It leads to "a comparison of scene with scene," makes you "pamper" yourself with "meagre novelties of colour and proportion." While you are busying yourself with this critical and discriminating activity you lose what really matters the "moods of time and season," the "spirit" of the place. And of course Wordsworth is right. That is why, if you love nature in his fashion, a landscape painter is (out of doors) an even worse companion than a botanist.

It is the "moods" or the "spirit" that matter. Nature-lovers want to receive as fully as possible whatever nature, at each particular time and place, is, so to speak saying. The obvious richness, grace, and harmony of some scenes are no more precious to them than the grimness, bleakness, terror, monotony, or "visionary dreariness" of others. The featureless itself gets from them a willing response. It is one more word uttered by nature. They lay themselves bare to the sheer quality of every countryside, every hour of the day. They want to absorb it into themselves, to be coloured through and through by it.

Quoted on July 1, 2013

If you take nature as a teacher she will teach you exactly the lessons you had already decided to learn; this is only another way of saying that nature does not teach.

Quoted on July 1, 2013

Shakespeare has described the satisfaction of a tyrannous lust as something
Past reason hunted and, no sooner had,
Past reason hated

Quoted on July 1, 2013

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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