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`Download Epub ⚺ Till We Have Faces í In this timeless tale of two mortal princesses one beautiful and one unattractive CS Lewis reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction This is the story of Orual, Psyche s embittered and ugly older sister, who posessively and harmfully loves Psyche Much to Orual s frustration, Psyche is loved by Cupid, the god of love himself, setting the troubled Orual on a path of moral developmentSet against the backdrop of Glome, a barbaric, pre Christian world, the struggles between sacred and profane love are illuminated as Orual learns that we cannot understand the intent of the gods till we have faces and sincerity in our souls and selves Although I count C S Lewis as a favorite author, and had nominally had this re telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche based on the version recounted by the 2nd century A.D Latin author Apuleius in his Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass Lewis summarizes that version here in an author s note at the end on my to read list for some time, I d probably never have read it if it hadn t been a common read in my Fans of British Writers group here on Goodreads Greek mythology isn t a big intere Although I count C S Lewis as a favorite author, and had nominally had this re telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche based on the version recounted by the 2nd century A.D Latin author Apuleius in his Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass Lewis summarizes that version here in an author s note at the end on my to read list for some time, I d probably never have read it if it hadn t been a common read in my Fans of British Writers group here on Goodreads Greek mythology isn t a big interest of mine I wasn t familiar with the legend or with Apuleius work, and expected something sort of like a bowdlerized kid s version of the Odyssey that I read as a child I d have missed out on a great read that was nothing like that expectation.Lewis re invents the story through the eyes of Psyche s older sister Orual, who s our protagonist and narrator, a shift of perspective that s crucial to the story as he tells it He also changes a central detail, in the interests of greater psychological realism, and this changes the whole coloration of the tale I ve classified it as fantasy, because some crucial scenes take place in dream or vision sequences in the realm of the divine, outside this world as we know it but the great bulk of this story reads like realistic historical fiction, written with great psychological and spiritual perception The sisters are princesses in the barbarian the ancient Greeks word for anybody who isn t Greek kingdom of Glome But while Glome and its neighboring lands are fictional, they fit into a well realized milieu of the areas around the Black or Caspian Seas in the 4th century B.C., and Orual refers in places to the Greeklands and their real world writings and events including the death of Socrates in 399 B.C., which helps to date the events Glome has a culture and religion that s generic Iron Age southwest Asian Eastern Mediterranean Ungit, Aphrodite, Diana, etc are all variations of the cult of the Great Mother , and the characterizations are life like and vivid.Against this realistic background, Lewis unfolds a mostly very realistic story of a dysfunctional royal family, a conflict between traditional paganism and the rising rationalism of some of the Greek philosophers represented in Glome by major character Lysias nicknamed Fox, the enslaved Greek intellectual who becomes the princesses tutor , and occasional eruptions into mundane life of a mostly unseen spiritual realm He explores several serious themes here the necessity for true self knowledge of our real feelings and motivations, symbolized by the high quality mirror in the royal palace there s a lot of significant symbolism used in this novel, to enrich the telling the difference between healthy love that wants the best for another and possessive desire to own and dominate its object for self gratification, masquerading to both parties as love, a concept Lewis would explore four years later in The Four Loves the conflict between Reason and intuition imagination and the fundamental conflict between faith and unbelief Lewis also does an excellent job of making Orual, Fox and other characters nuanced, with both faults and good points Till We have Faces is set in pre Christian times, and the religious thought of its characters is pre Christian But Lewis would say that God was always there, even before Christ was born, governing the universe and seeking a relationship with human beings, and the same central spiritual truths that are true now were true then too Humans then, especially apart from Jewish influence, without the special revelation we have today in the Bible and especially in the New Testament, didn t understand those truths as clearly as those who have the full light of Christian revelation but like some of the ancient and medieval early modern Christian thinkers, Lewis understood the pre Christian pagan religions as pre figurations of Divine truth, imperfect and partial articulations of spiritual realities that serve as shadowy reflections of and pointers towards the real thing as Plato might have said and Lewis was a Neo Platonist in philosophy earthly images of the heavenly Ideal An online article by Michael Ward the author of Planet Narnia The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S Lewis , here , helpfully expands on this idea That s a concept essential to fully understanding Lewis purpose and message here.I ve included this book on my action heroines shelf a surprise to me, because I didn t expect such as element here Indeed, it s not an action heroine read to the extent that, say, a Modesty Blaise novel would be We only have one real, directly described action scene, and a passing reference to another But the motif is there Orual trains in sword fighting with the captain of the palace guard long story , proves to be naturally talented for it, and subsequently puts her training to good use In that respect and others, I d say that, while one of my few overall criticisms of Lewis is that his thought isn t quite as feminist as I d like, this is probably one of his most feminist works.All in all, I d say this mature work might well be Lewis masterpiece, and I m really glad to have read it Thanks for nominating it for the group read, Oksana Ironically, though Lewis considered this to be his best work, it is not very well known Even among those who label themselves as Lewis fans, the work is not often read Few people even know that it exists Among the few, I would guess that there are a significant number feigning ignorance so as not to delve into the pages Perhaps it is because the book is so often seen as a philosophical theological work, something scholarly and dense and difficult to read The somewhat colorless covers that t Ironically, though Lewis considered this to be his best work, it is not very well known Even among those who label themselves as Lewis fans, the work is not often read Few people even know that it exists Among the few, I would guess that there are a significant number feigning ignorance so as not to delve into the pages Perhaps it is because the book is so often seen as a philosophical theological work, something scholarly and dense and difficult to read The somewhat colorless covers that the tale is often subjected to do not help matters However, the majority of those who actually give this book a chance arethan pleased by the outcome.First of all, let me remind readers that Lewis wanted his stories to be, first and foremost, stories Whatever you may think of his personal beliefs should not affect the reading of the tale, as it was written to BE a tale Lewis did not set about to write a story based off of a principle Rather, he set out to write a story, and the principles of the author cannot be separated from the work as the work is a part of the author s mind That is why ideas are dubbed brain children.Lewis s story itself is a masterpiece of imagination, scholarly knowledge, plot and great insight into the human character It is the tale of Psyche and Cupid However, rather than star the beautiful heroine of the myth, the main character is Psyche s older sister, Orual, a strong woman cursed with a hideous face The story covers her love of Psyche, as well as her overall desire for love and her anger with the gods This tale is set in a world of myth so well realized that it never once feels artificial Many myth inspired works feel unreal, as if the myth was painted on and the author only knew a little of his own world Such is not the case in Till We Have Faces It is believable from start to finish This is strengthened by the tangibility of the characters themselves No one is painted black or white All are real human beings with feelings, hopes and reasons for their actions Some criticism has been placed on this book concerning its depth True, this is not light reading This is not Eragon, after all The story does have philosophical elements, as well as theological ones The tale is one of contrasts between classical and cultic paganism between beauty and ugliness between trust and jealousy Also, the emotional current of the story is certainly passionate and the tone is dark However, I do not see why any of these traits should prevent a reading I read this book for the first time when I was twelve The language may not be incredibly easy, but neither is it too dense nor too difficult to understand List of beauties The epigraph Love is too young to know what conscience is The first line of Shakespeare s Sonnet 151 Lewis makes the quotation speak of Orual s sub moral love, Psyche s super moral love, and the god s supra mortal love Dedication To Joy Davidman TWHF was published in 1956, when Lewis was married to Joy He says somewhere that she was so involved in his mental processes during the creation of this book as to be almost a co author The first sentence I am old no List of beauties The epigraph Love is too young to know what conscience is The first line of Shakespeare s Sonnet 151 Lewis makes the quotation speak of Orual s sub moral love, Psyche s super moral love, and the god s supra mortal love Dedication To Joy Davidman TWHF was published in 1956, when Lewis was married to Joy He says somewhere that she was so involved in his mental processes during the creation of this book as to be almost a co author The first sentence I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods It sets the tone for the entire first section of the novel it paints a vague historical and geographical context by the mere word gods it encapsulates the character s past and present, age and attitude, faith and heresy The psychological honesty about the human sense of injustice by the gods Who has not been tempted to say to God, It s not fair The fairy tale feeling The Stepmother, a nurse, a tutor, a dark god in a darker house, an agricultural society infused with emotional realism, peopled by complex, timeless, modern characters The Fox Wise, stoic, affectionate, stolid, tender, clever, witty, loveable, loving, a seeker of knowledge, a story teller, a muddled mixture of the practical and the fantastical The intuitive, experiential understanding of the truth that The Law Kills The smell of the horror of holiness hanging around the Priest of Ungit, human sacrifice, temple prostitution, ritual superstition, the essence of a pre Christian religion Psyche herself True beauty As a newborn, she made bright all the corner of the room in which she lay Always laughing, making all others laugh, merry, truthful, obedient, virtuous, spirited, compassionate, selfless In her was the Form of the Beautiful, what every woman ought to have been and meant to be The Fox calls her Helen one of Lewis s great symbols, and Joy Davidman s other name The subtlety of the horrors that shattered Orual s youthful happiness No obvious catastrophes then, finally, the worst blow paganism can give sacrifice the most pure, the most beautiful, to The Brute The unanswerable nature of pre Christian language, that apes our own diction so closely, yet with such twistings In holy language, loving and devouring are the same the Bride is the Brute s Supper in a mystery, Ungit and her son are one Parodies of the Trinity, of the Eucharist, of a believer s death and resurrection in baptism The psychological perfection of the scene in Psyche s prison room on the night before the sacrifice Orual accuses Psyche of a heart of iron because it is strong and unbendable in torment Orual has lost her, and grudges her this joy This Joy When I was happiest I longed most, says Istra, for death For whatever was beyond the Grey Mountain It was so intense it almost hurt me The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to reach the Mountain or the island, or the blue flower, or the Great Beyond The longing for home Then, the perfection of the moment when each realizes the other s ignorance of an entire world When Psyche realizes Orual cannot see her palace when Orual realizes Psyche sees it right there in the fields and forest And then the rain, the terrible rain that falls on Psyche and she feels it not, and Orual tries to cover and comfort her and cannot They are divided by the gods The gods The West Wind, a young, rough god The god who comes to Psyche in the night, who looks upon Orual with passionless and measureless rejection And the ending is the most Sublime piece of writing I have encountered I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer You are yourself the answer Before your face questions die away What other answer would suffice That is a perfect summary of Christian theology all you need to know to be saved, yet couched in mythology One of the lesser known of Lewis fiction works, this is a masterful retelling of the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche that paints a vivid picture of how selfish humanly love is, and to what extent we will go to protect it The narrative serves to humble the reader as the heroine of the novel transforms from the pitiable victim to the chief antagonist, and at the same time we realize that we are her, always pondering on the wrongs done to us and the shortcomings we experience It s an exce One of the lesser known of Lewis fiction works, this is a masterful retelling of the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche that paints a vivid picture of how selfish humanly love is, and to what extent we will go to protect it The narrative serves to humble the reader as the heroine of the novel transforms from the pitiable victim to the chief antagonist, and at the same time we realize that we are her, always pondering on the wrongs done to us and the shortcomings we experience It s an excellent novel that speaks to how we, as humans, tend to see our own plight in life as the most dire, and perceive others as being part of our plight or calloused to our plight Yet, in the end, we are most likely the villains in a myriad of others stories as much as the tragic hero of our own A great reminder that whatever my circumstances, I am in thousands of stories other than my own, and only I can choose the color of my character