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Deeper Heaven: A Reader’s Guide to C. S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy

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C.S. Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy, better known as “the Space Trilogy”, is a much-neglected and yet critically important part of Lewis’ works. It has captivated and bewildered readers since its publication, and though hundreds of books about Lewis have been written, few seek to navigate the maze that is Lewis’s “space-travel story.” These books are a distillation in novel form of one of Lewis’ favorite subjects, a subject whose melody is woven into almost everything that Lewis ever wrote: the medieval model of the cosmos.

Deeper Heaven is a guide and companion through the magical web of medieval cosmology, ancient myth, and critique of modern philosophies that makes up the oft-maligned “Space Trilogy.” A student and teacher of literature and history herself, Christiana Hale will walk you through the Trilogy one step at a time, with eyes fixed where Lewis himself fixed his: on Deep Heaven and beyond. In the process, many questions will be answered: What does Christ have to do with Jupiter? Why does Lewis care so much about the medieval conception of the heavens? Why should we? And, perhaps the most puzzling question of all: why is Merlin in That Hideous Strength?

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Table of Contents

What is This Book?

INTRODUCTION:

Chapter 1:        Mapping the Universe: What is the Medieval Cosmos?

Chapter 2:        Kindly Enclyning: The Influence & Personality of the Planets

Chapter 3:        Whatness and Whichness: Donegality & Atmosphere

 

PART I: OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET

Summary

Chapter 4:        The Pedestrian & the Pilgrim: Dante’s Influence    

Chapter 5:        “By Jove!”: Lewis’s Use of Language

Chapter 6:        The Heavens Declare: Ransom’s Revelation

Chapter 7:        Strange Fiction: Wells, Lindsay, & the Sci-Fi Genre

Chapter 8:        Learning to Re-See: Imaginative Training & the Cosmos

Chapter 9:        Grey-Eyed & Keen: The Martial Influence

Chapter 10:      The Lost Poets: Memory & Pleasure

Chapter 11:      Strange Counsel: Maleldil & the Great War

Chapter 12:      Devils in Disguise: Hell on Malacandra

Chapter 13:      The Ocean of Eternal Noon: Ransom’s Imaginative Transformation

 

PART II: PERELANDRA

Summary

Chapter 14:      World from Beyond the World: The Medieval Principles of the Triad & Plenitude

Chapter 15:      Foreknowledge & Mission: Ransom the Prophet     

Chapter 16:      The End of Silence: Principalities & Powers     

Chapter 17:      Along the Beam: Enjoyment, Contemplation, & Love     

Chapter 18:      Lady of Love: The Influence of Venus     

Chapter 19:      The Tree & the Fixed Land: Real Loss & the Consequences of the Fall     

Chapter 20:      Garden of the Hesperides: True Myth    

Chapter 21:      The Language of Paradise: Poetry on Perelandra

Chapter 22:      A Fit Receptacle: Weston as the Anti-Ransom     

Chapter 23:      Kindling Love in Man: Purgatory for the Pilgrim    

 

PART III: THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH

Summary    

Chapter 24:      Mars & Venus: Mark and Jane Studdock    

Chapter 25:      Joy & Jubilee: The Jovial Character    

Chapter 26:      Men Without Chests: The Abolition of Man   

Chapter 27:      As Sparks Fly from an Anvil: Ransom as Jovial Priest-King    

Chapter 28:      Hard, Bright Splendour: Merlin & Ransom the Elf-Friend    

Chapter 29:      Coming to a Point: St. Anne’s & Belbury      

Chapter 30:      A World Unmade: Biblical Imagery   

Chapter 31:      Women of the West: True Femininity    

Chapter 32:      Rebellion & Obedience: Mark & Jane’s Conversions    

Chapter 33:      Pulling Down Deep Heaven: Paradise on the Silent Planet     

 

CONCLUSION

Chapter 34:      The Incarnation & the Eyes of Heaven: Man’s Importance in the Cosmos

Chapter 35:      Recovering the Discarded Image: Looking to the Stars

 

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Timeline of the life and writings of C. S. Lewis

Appendix B: Index of Characters, Places, & Old Solar

Appendix C: Index of Allusions & Quotations, and translations

Author: Christiana Hale
Foreword: Douglas Wilson
ISBN 13: 978-1-944482-56-5
ISBN 10: 1-944482-56-3
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 1
Page Count: 412
Cover Design: Joey Nance
Interior Layout: Carissa Hale
Interior Illustrations: Joey Nance

CHRISTIANA HALE (New Saint Andrews College, BA ’15, MA ’17) spends her days teaching Latin and English to over a hundred energetic junior high students at Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, a classical Christian school seeking to train students with the kind of education that produced such minds as Lewis and Tolkien. When not teaching or writing works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Christiana spends time with her parents and siblings, and enjoys the rolling hills of the Palouse and the deep woods of North Idaho. Sometimes, she even goes stargazing. Deeper Heaven is her first published book.

“Christiana Hale has done C.S. Lewis’s readers a great service with this very well-written and carefully researched guide to the Ransom Trilogy. It is a thoughtful and helpful study of three novels that are often misunderstood but which, as the years go by, are increasingly showing their value and importance. Warmly recommended.”
Dr. Michael Ward, Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, Professor of Apologetics, Houston Baptist University, and author of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis.

“Christiana Hale is particularly suited to the task of writing a reader’s guide to the Ransom Trilogy. She is an intelligent lover of all things Lewis, and is a dedicated student of this material. She reads carefully, widely, and wisely, and is not hampered by having to read her material with modernist blinkers that help us all to deny what the texts are obviously saying. I have been privileged to have known Christiana as a student in a number of settings, and this book is one that I can happily commend and recommend. You will come away from it the wiser.”
— Douglas Wilson, from the Foreword

“For those readers longing to go “further up and further in,” Christiana Hale’s new book Deeper Heaven: A Reader’s Guide to Lewis’s Ransom Trilogy sets out to to demystify Lewis’s epic, offering up a wide-ranging exploration of the trilogy’s complex inner workings. What’s more, Deeper Heaven is a profoundly accessible text that nonacademic readers will be able to appreciate: Lewis’s work is dense indeed, but Hale’s prose is mercifully unclouded by excessive jargon.”
– John Ehrett. Read full review at Patheos.

Deeper Heaven does for the ‘Ransom Trilogy’ what Ward did for the Chronicles of Narnia, and even more! Not only does Christiana Hale explore Lewis’ love of medieval cosmology and ancient myth and the reasons why he wove these ideas into his work, she carefully analyzes each book of the trilogy. In the process she uncovers a myriad of gold nuggets and secrets which will delight those who enjoyed reading the trilogy.”
– Alf Cengia, Read full review at Zeteo 3:16