Friday, November 4, 2016

C. S. Lewis ~ "That Hideous Strength"

Featured Author ~ C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis was born in November 1898 in Belfast, Ireland, the son of a solicitor and a clergyman’s daughter.  He taught medieval literature at Oxford University and at Cambridge University and was a prolific writer.  C. S. Lewis’ better known works include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, and Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in his space trilogy.

The following is an excerpt from That Hideous Strength, which is the third book of Lewis’ space trilogy.  I am often reminded of this passage when reading a set of comments on the Internet, especially about emotionally charged issues.

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What was this?  Had his hearing gone wrong?  For Jules seemed to be saying that the future density of mankind depended on the implosion of horses of Nature.  “He’s drunk,” thought Frost.  Then, crystal clear in articulation, beyond all possibility of mistake, came “The madrigore of ver-juice must be talthibanised.”

Wither was slower to notice what was happening.  Then he thought, “Come!  That’s going too far.  Even they must see that you can’t talk about accepting the challenge of the past by throwing down the gauntlet of the future.  And what the deuce did he mean by aholibate?”

Mark did not at first attend to the speech at all.  And then he really listened.  “We shall not,” Jules was saying, “we shall not till we can secure the erebation of all prostundiary initems.”

Immediately Wither touched Jules on the arm, signed to him with a nod, and rose.
“Eh?  Blotcher bulldoo?” muttered Jules.  Then Wither began to speak.

“Tidies and fuglemen – I sheel foor that we all – er – most steeply rebut the defensible, thought, I trust, lavatory, Aspasia which gleams to have selected our redeemed inspector this deceiving.  It would – ah – be shark, very shark, from anyone’s debenture…”

Four or five people in the room were now up.  They were shouting.  At the same time there was movement elsewhere.  Several of the younger men were making for the door.  “Bundlemen, bundlemen,” said Wither sternly in a much louder voice.  He had often before, merely by raising his voice and speaking one authoritative word, reduced troublesome meetings to order.

But this time he was not even heard.   At least twenty people present were at that very moment attempting to do the same thing.  To each of them it seemed plain that things were just at that stage when a word or so of plain sense, spoken in a new voice, would restore the whole room to sanity.  One thought of a sharp word, one of a joke, one of something very quiet and telling.  As a result fresh gibberish in a great variety of tones rang out from several places at once.  The clamor was universal.  To Mark it sounded like the noise of a crowded restaurant in a foreign country.


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