Editorial

By Croft, Janet Brennan | Mythlore, Spring-Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Editorial


Croft, Janet Brennan, Mythlore


IN THIS ISSUE WE FEATURE TWO MAJOR, LENGTHY ARTICLES about individual works by C.S. Lewis: his first published volume of poetry, Spirits in Bondage, and his last novel, Till We Have Faces.

Joe R. Christopher starts us off with a detailed examination of each poem in Spirits in Bondage, using the young poet's "Matter = Nature = Satan" equation (as expressed in his letters to his friend Arthur Greeves) to explore the underlying themes of Lewis's not just pre-conversion, but pre-theism "cycle of lyrics." The contrast between beauty and evil, irreconcilable in this stage of Lewis's theological development, is shown to be a major concern in this work, heavily influenced by his World War I experiences.

Gwenyth Hood returns to Mythlore with an in-depth exploration of Lewis's Till We Have Faces, his retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid from the viewpoint of one of Psyche's sisters, Orual. Taking as her key the god's admonition to Orual after she forces her sister to disobey him, "You also shall be Psyche," Hood examines Orual's transformations of herself and her society and the nature and meaning of the tasks she symbolically shares with her sister.

In A. Keith Kelly and Michael Livingstone's thought-provoking article, we try to discover exactly what Frodo goes to when he sails from the Grey Havens. By looking at paradise, purgatory, and earthly Edens in medieval literature and theology, we gain a better understanding of the spiritual purpose of Tolkien's "far green country" beyond the bent paths of the world.

Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, long a favorite with Mythlore readers, is the subject of Geoffrey Reiter's contribution to this issue. In it he looks at the subtle balance of mortality and immortality in this story and how Beagle resolves their opposition though what his characters learn (or don't learn) from experiencing both states of being.

Brent D. Johnson adds to the recent scholarly dialogue on Tolkien's depiction of war-related mental trauma by examining Eowyn not as an example of post-traumatic stress disorder, but as a character suffering from, and beginning to recover from, traumatic grief. Johnson's experience as a military chaplain gives added strength to his observations.

My own article explores the depiction of gender in education, and how gender issues in education relate to power and agency, in two current young adult fantasy series feaTuring feisty heroines determined to learn all that they can: Hermione Granger in J. …

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