steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

C.S.L. again

I've been compiling a list of quotations for a sig. file. Maybe I'll never get around to using it, but it's made me very aware of the way that interesting turns of phrase slip through my butter (or low-cholestrol equivalent) fingers, never to be seen again. Then again, the luxuriant wastefulness of that has its own appeal.

Anyhow, I'm not doing so well with the file. I've only got about a dozen quotes, so far: I keep forgetting to write them down quickly enough. Luminous quotations are a bit like dreams - terribly vivid at the time, and you think you'll never forget them or the way you felt when you heard them - and then they're gone.

Still, here's one that I keep coming back to. It's from C. S. Lewis again, but from a fairly ephemeral source: his 1954 Time and Tide review of The Lord of the Rings. (Actually, it was reprinted in Of this and Other Worlds, but even that's not a very well-known book.) Put the collective unconscious to one side, and see what you think of it, because to me it's the most exquisitely succinct statement of a profound idea, sexist pronoun notwithstanding:

“A myth points, for each reader, to the realm he lives in most. It is a master key; use it on what door you like.”

Perhaps this shines particularly brightly at the moment, because the book I think I've just written has it as its underlying principle. But it's just so right!

Or maybe you think otherwise...?
Tags: books, c. s. lewis
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