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Till We have Faces... A Myth Retold by C. S…

Till We have Faces... A Myth Retold (original 1956; edition 1966)

by C. S Lewis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,770None974 (4.25)2 / 188
Title:Till We have Faces... A Myth Retold
Authors:C. S Lewis
Info:Time Inc (1966), Paperback, 275 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis (1956)

20th century (38) allegory (68) British literature (26) C.S. Lewis (159) Christian (85) Christian Fiction (34) Christianity (92) classics (42) Cupid (38) Cupid and Psyche (43) fantasy (241) fiction (661) greek mythology (50) Inklings (77) Lewis (50) literature (103) love (30) myth (111) mythology (340) novel (77) own (26) philosophy (27) psyche (55) read (63) religion (85) retelling (47) spirituality (25) Theology (44) to-read (48) unread (28)
  1. 40
    Phantastes and Lilith, two novels by George MacDonald (charlie68)
  2. 20
    Cupid by Julius Lester (raizel)
    raizel: A retelling of the Psyche and Cupid myth; Lester's version is for a younger (teen
  3. 10
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (AnnaClaire)
    AnnaClaire: A different author retelling a different myth, but they still seem to fit together nicely.
  4. 10
    Mythology by Edith Hamilton (sibyllacumaea)

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English (93)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
I mostly loved the book for the excellent characters, which are all real and beautifully developed. Some of the lines were pure masterpieces of literary craft. (Esp. where Orual accuses the Gods). I am afraid I could not appreciate part 2 of the book. I guess that is because my own beliefs in these matters are very "un-christian". I would like to read the book again from a more unbiased point of view. ( )
  ikka123 | Jan 22, 2014 |
Pure love and Selfish love

I think that's how I would describe the theme of this story. The narrator, Orual, writes her story as an accusation to the gods, describing her life from girlhood to womanhood, living life behind a veil that hides the ugliness of her face. The story is beautiful and devastating, and the reader will find that justice is served. ( )
  RachelCK | Oct 30, 2013 |
Prior to reading Till We Have Faces, the only books I'd read by C.S. Lewis were those of the Narnia series. Not only does this book show Lewis's versatility as a writer, I found his retelling of the Cupid/Psyche myth deeply moving. ( )
  stacy_chambers | Aug 22, 2013 |
I love this novel, perhaps more than I can express--although I'll try. And that despite that I'm an unbeliever, and Lewis famously a Christian apologist who weaves Christian themes into his fiction. He's such an elegant, thoughtful writer though that I always find him at least interesting, and in the case of Narnia, usually charming. This was my first Lewis work, and still my favorite even after reading much of his non-fiction, Narnia, The Screwtape Letters and the Space Trilogy up to the middle of the last book. (I found the views on gender in That Hideous Strength far too exasperating and abandoned it.)

I was determined to give Till We Have Faces a reread after reading some remarks of Dorsett, who edited The Essential C.S. Lewis, gifted me by a friend. Dorsett admits Lewis thought Till We Have Faces his best work. And I'd agree. I had assumed Dorsett hadn't included it for reasons of length, then I found this comment by Dorsett introducing the (complete!) text of Lewis' novel Perelandra. "Because this later novel [Till We Have Faces], a retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid is often difficult for the beginning reader to understand the unabridged Perelandra is reprinted here." Huh???? I hadn't remembered Till We Have Faces as difficult; I also didn't find it heavy handed in the way I'd later find some of Narnia. My reread confirms my impression; in fact I fell in love with it all over again--despite that now being more familiar with Lewis I could certainly see the Christian themes throughout.

But I love the voice and character of Orual, Psyche's older sister. There have been times I've found in Lewis what a friend calls "gender fail," even if it impressed me that the girls of Narnia are every bit as important, intelligent and brave as the boys. Perelandra I found somewhat misogynistic, but that wasn't too hard to forgive given it's basically Paradise Lost fanfic, and the sexism is mild compared to that of Milton--it wasn't till That Hideous Strength that I wanted to hurl one of Lewis' books against the wall. Given those experiences, Orual seems a marvel. But I've read Lewis credited his wife, Joy Davidson, with contributing a lot to this book--which is dedicated to her. Certainly his marriage may have enriched his views of women. All I can say is there wasn't a moment I didn't believe in and care about Orual. Lewis paints a wonderful psychological portrait of her--that always rang true, even if for me the metaphysics do not. What can I say? I'm more in synch with the rationalist character of Fox. But for all her flaws, Orual is a heroine to root for. A moving story, quickly over--too quickly if anything. The kind of book that although it is NOT DIFFICULT you find more on repeated reads. This is indeed in my opinion the perfect introduction to Lewis for an adult. Beautiful. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Aug 9, 2013 |
The first and last third of this book is the best. Rich in theme and message worthy of deeper study. ( )
  charlie68 | Jun 22, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Luca, AraldoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindholm, AndersCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Love is too young to know what conscience is"
To Joy Davidman
Joy Davidman
First words
I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.
(Food for the gods must always be found somehow, even when the land starves.)
Now mark yet again the cruelty of the gods. There is no escape from them into sleep or madness, for they can pursue you into them with dreams. Indeed you are then most at their mercy. The nearest thing we have to a defence against them (but there is no real defence) is to be very wide awake and sober and hard at work, to hear no music, never to look at earth or sky, and (above all) to love no one.
Weakness, and work, are two comforts the gods have not taken from us.
To love, and to lose what we love, are equally things appointed for our nature. If we cannot bear the second well, that evil is ours.
The sight of the huge world put mad ideas into me; as if I could wander away, wander for ever, see strange and beautiful things, one after the other to the world's end.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156904365, Paperback)

At once more human and more mythic than his Perelandra trilogy, Lewis's short novel of love, faith, and transformation (both good and ill) offers the reader much food for thought in a compact, impressively rich story. Less heavy-handedly Christian-allegorical than Narnia, Till We Have Faces gives us characters who remind us of people we know facing choices and difficulties we recognize. This deceptively simple book takes on new depth with each rereading.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:29 -0400)

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From the Publisher: This tale of two princesses-one beautiful and one unattractive-and of the struggle between sacred and profane love is Lewis's reworking of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and one of his most enduring works.

(summary from another edition)

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