C. S. LEWIS DAILY: MAY 17

What are the key words of modern criticism? Creative, with its opposite derivative; spontaneity with its opposite convention; freedom, contrasted with rules. Great authors are innovators, pioneers, explorers; bad authors bunch in schools and follow models. Or again, great authors are always “breaking fetters” and “bursting bonds.” They have personality, they “are themselves.” I do not know whether we often think out the implication of such language into a consistent philosophy; but we certainly have a general picture of bad work flowering from conformity and discipleship, and of good work bursting out from certain centres of explosive force – apparently self-originating force – which we call men of genius.

Now the New Testament has nothing at all to tell us of literature. I know that there are some who like to think of Our Lord Himself as a poet and cite the parables to support their view. I admit freely that to believe in the Incarnation at all is to believe that every mode of human excellence is implicit in His historical human character; poethood, of course, included. But if all had been developed, the limitation is a single human life would have been transcended and He would not have been a man; therefore all excellences save the spiritual remained in varying degrees implicit.

From Christian Reflections
Compiled in The Business of Heaven

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