The True Myth: C.S. Lewis and Remythologization
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The term myth often carries with it a negative connotation, especially when it is brought into conversation with widely held religious beliefs. The most common definition of myth pertains to outdated convictions held by primitive people. Popular Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, however, entertains a different idea of mythology. For Lewis, myth is used as a descriptive term to identify a genre of literature that is extra- literary. A work that contains mythological elements must draw a reader out of himself or herself and into something greater. In An Experiment with Criticism, Lewis explains that a reader, after entering into an experience with myth, may well say to himself or herself, “I shall never escape this. This will never escape me. These images have stuck roots far below the surface of my mind.” I argue that Lewis’ developing understanding of the concept of myth played a key role in three distinct facets of his life: his conversion, his development of Christian theology, and his apologetic fiction writings.