Seeking the Discarded Image: Nature
C.S. Lewis says it is “worth while to spend some labour on ‘putting ourselves back’ into the universe which our ancestors believed themselves to inhabit. What their work means to us after we have done so appears to me not only more accurate (more like what they intended) but also more interesting and nourishing and delightful.”
In the previous class, we focused on the Heavens, the sphere of the Moon and everything beyond, which was seen as perfect and unchanging. In this, we will discuss the world we inhabit, the sub-lunary world of change and chance in all its beauty, glory, and terror, presided over by Nature and Fortune, and inhabited and haunted by those mysterious beings whom Lewis calls the Longaevi, the long-livers, the fey folk.
In the first class, Kelly Cumbee will describe the medieval concept of Nature, and we will see how Nature is revealed in Dante’s Hell. In the second and third classes, we’ll read together Lewis’s The Silver Chair and Shakespeare’s King Lear in order to see how those works embody the medieval idea of Nature.
This course is envisioned as part of a series of mini-classes on Medieval Cosmology. The classes may be taken in any order.
This is a three-session class.
Instructor: Kelly Cumbee
Class 1: Dante’s Hell (December 7, 3:30-5PM, EST)
Class 2: The Silver Chair (December 14, 3:30-5PM, EST)
Class 3: King Lear (December 21, 3:30-5PM, EST)
All classes are recorded and available to students to watch at their own pace.
Note: The class will be conducted using Canvas as our virtual classroom, which includes a discussion forum. Before class begins, you will receive a link to enroll in Canvas. Click the link to login to the virtual classroom, which will have everything you need for the course.