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The Four Loves (1960)
by C. S. Lewis
At his best Lewis can be very good (Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity), but at other times he can be a bit frustrating. He has an excellent mind overstuffed with knowledge of many fine things, he’s often insightful, and he’s able to write engagingly and accessibly while fleshing out a carefully conceived and detailed plan. But when he’s not at his best there can be too much wordplay and other cleverness combined with an over-certain pedagogy, or at least that’s how it comes off for me. It’s particularly frustrating when there are a lot of good ideas and connections that you know could be deepened with more reflection and care. While clearing out the underbrush. You might say someone with his gifts has kind of an obligation to use them carefully and well for the greater good. Of course you might not say that, but let’s assume you might. At times this book feels like it was tossed off by an unusually gifted journalist. It’s a good book, but you get the sense that it could have been much better. At least I get that sense. And the material is important - it merits the best effort. Lewis wrote about the psychic and spiritual drain that Screwtape caused him, getting into the skin of a senior demon for the duration of its writing, and how he could never do that again to write a sequel despite many requests. I’m grateful that he put himself through that, and maybe he didn’t really have an obligation to sweat more to make this book better. But I do wish he had.
CS Lewis explores the joys-and dangers, of various aspects of love. Affection, friendship, eros, and charity, and how ultimately it's rooted in a love for God and the love God gifts to us.
The true insights here are CS Lewis' deconstructions of false loves; the idea that one needs to be needed, the idea that sexual intimacy is true eroticism, the idea that a guarded heart can lead to less pain-all of these are masterfully broken down to demonstrate that true love is none of those things. Good loves taken to a God love turns love into a demon.
A great read, although sometimes challenging due to the nature of the references that surely would have made sense back in the early 20th century, has gone lost on me(Google was a huge help here). Some of CS Lewis' views on gender and on friendship have not aged well, but nevertheless provide helpful analogies to his larger points which remain timeless.
Excellent. Classic Lewis.
excellent. Classic Lewis, as usual. I always thoroughly enjoy C.S. Lewis, even if I can't always keep up with him.
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The Four Loves / Surprised by Joy / A Grief Observed / The Screwtape Letters / The Great Divorce / Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
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C.S. Lewis's famous inspirational work on the nature of love. C.S. Lewis's famous work on the nature of love divides love into four categories: Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity. The first three are loves which come naturally to the human race. Charity, however, the Gift-love of God, is divine in its source and expression, and without the sweetening grace of this supernatural love, the natural loves become distorted and even dangerous.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)241 — Religions Christian Devotional Literature and Practical Theology Christian Ethics
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