A Personal Reflection on Logres and The Matter of Britain by Stephen Winter

This week’s post on the series on The Inklings and King Arthur is by me. It is an attempt to link the wisdom of the Inklings, the Matter of Britain and the current state of my country and of Europe. I would love to engage in conversation with anyone who wants to discuss this so please read and comment.
You may notice a reference to a poet, priest and scholar who refers to Jesus as “Our True Strider”. This is in fact, Malcolm Guite, who contributed the wonderful concluding essay to the book, The Inklings and King Arthur. Glad to make that correction!

A Pilgrim in Narnia

Having sent out the call for papers, it is delightful to be more a ‘receiving’ than a ‘commissioning editor’, discovering what serendipities Providence supplies. We began last week with Suzanne Bray’s illuminating study of ‘Post-Inklings’ Arthurian fiction of as recently as twenty years ago – in the context of an argument around a century older, and the contributions to it of the first Inkling Arthurian novelist, Charles Williams. Now, Stephen Winter complements this by taking us back to the last Arthurian novel by an Inkling, C.S. Lewis’s The Hideous Strength, to show how one of its most striking features addresses our contemporary situation even more forcefully than it did Lewis’s own, when he wrote it seventy-four years ago. Join us, to contemplate “our haunting”.

David Llewellyn Dodds, Guest Editor


It may feel, for the inhabitants of the British Isles, that recent years have been particularly unsettled. The referendum…

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6 thoughts on “A Personal Reflection on Logres and The Matter of Britain by Stephen Winter

  1. Love the picture. I will have to wait to read this until I am done with THS to avoid any possible spoilers. I already knew N.I.C.E. was not nice before even starting, but it is chilling and frightening how calmly Featherstone spoke to Mark of its goals, just the same as the Nazis and Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. Scary this is just as topical now as it was then. Jane is about to come to St. Anne’s, that’s as far as I’ve got so far. God help us all!

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

  2. I finished That Hideous Strength Saturday night and now just read your post and saw those mostly Hideous covers of the tale which properly fit the not nice N.I.C.E. It’s frightening how active they still are in the world, like Sauron, defeated once but then the Shadow grows again. I agree with what you said about Wither and his dissembling words – trying so hard to be courteous and ‘we’re a family here’ while all the time an evil person and Mark writing those pieces about the riot, knowing perfectly well it’s all rubbish but sounding so convincing and authentic. No wonder the truly intelligent people do not believe the news. May their evil be defeated once more and like Sauron never be seen again in the world.

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed That Hideous Strength. Critics have argued that Lewis became a better writer later in his life and they are problems right. I think that Lewis learnt a lot more about marriage when he married Joy Davidman, for example. But his understanding of the contrast between the N.I.C.E and the community at St Anne’s, that he reflects upon in his seminal essay, The Abolition of Man, is profound.
      But it does not leave me fearful. It was that wonderful chapter head, “They have pulled down deep heaven on their heads” that recently lead me to re-read the story. The spirit of the N.I.C.E may still be alive but it still has absolutely no comprehension of the power that will defeat it! I know whose side I want to be on, hence my attempt to grapple with the haunting of Logres in my land.

      • So true! Just like Sauron was clueless about what defeated him until too late. I felt sorry for Merlin hearing from Ransom how terrible the world had become and I liked the various ways people were told to leave Edgestow, especially by their animals and I loved the bad guys picking up a bum and thinking he was Merlin and being confused as to why he didn’t understand Latin. Other than that, I thought it got way too weird after Merlin showed up. I enjoyed the stuff before that much better. Still overall I agree this certainly showed off Lewis’ skills as a scribe which did continue to improve. I am glad Mark got out alive. Long live Logres and St. Anne’s!

        Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

      • The weirdness reminds me of Dante’s Inferno and it is entirely self inflicted. The bizarre behaviour comes from the heart of each of those who are a part of the N.I.C.E. My only question would be to ask if there is any possibility of redemption for any of them. I suppose that the answer is, yes. Mark is the one who finds it. As always Lewis asks, what does each character truly seek?

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