Allegory Accents Surprised by Joy Jun 14, 2009
A book that is as useful for understanding Lewis's personal experience as his autobiography, Surprised by Joy. He takes up some of the same themes, this time defining his desire for God as Romanticism, which he later calls Joy. The story is of the journey of the character John, as he searches for something to fulfill that desire for something he can't yet define. He meets a variety of characters who reflect philosophies that Lewis considered before becoming a Christian. For example, there are characters who represent Freudians, Epicureans, Classicists. Through the adventure John realizes that things such as sex, knowledge, aesthetic beauty, do not fulfill that desire.
The story is told as an allegory, modeled after John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, because, as Lewis writes in the Afterword: "But in fact all good allegory exists not to hide but reveal; to make the inner world more palpable by giving it an (imagined) concrete embodiment.... For when allegory is at its best, it approaches myth, which must be grasped with the imagination, not with the intellect." (208) Nonetheless, it is engages the intellect too.