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The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature


The Discarded Image paints a lucid picture of the medieval world view, providing the historical and cultural background to the literature of the ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature

Overall customer rating: 5.000

An unexpected delight

by SKBB on Nov 5, 2009

I'm a CSL fan, and was surprised to learn of the existence of this book recently -- it's not one of his well known works, and derives more from his standing as medieval scholar than as Christian apologist. In it, he builds a comprehensive "image" of the medieval world view -- meaning the underlying assumptions about the nature of the universe, man, nature, art, literature, God, history, and the spiritual world -- how different from the modern it is, and how profoundly we can misunderstand medieval literature if we don't recognize those differences. He demonstrates the classical underpinnings (Greek, Latin, Jewish, Christian) of the Medieval Model in a way that shows sweeping mastery of classical authors and languages. Its tone is clearly pitched at the academic, rather than lay audience of much of his other work, yet one of the most delightful aspects was recognizing aspects of the medieval model from some of his fiction -- the science fiction trilogy comes to mind. Middle Ages buffs, as well as CSL fans, will thoroughly enjoy this highly readable book.


Essential introduction to the medieval worldview

by Valencia on Sep 23, 2009

Perhaps in many areas, C. S. Lewis's introduction to the medieval worldview could be improved. Research has gone a long way in the last forty years. It is difficult to find, however, a book so elegantly written and so intelligent in the way it retrieves the crucial elements. This is an ideal survey for those who begin their medieval readings, and even for those who already are familiar with the Middle Ages, it will prove a powerful tool.


The Medieval Mindset

by ZEDSREVIEW on Jun 14, 2009

A very good introduction to medieval and Renaissance literture, constructing the Model of the Universe that was popularly held at that time. Lewis builds the Model by citing a substantial number of works that address cosmology, astronomy, medicine, rhetoric, etc. Subjects referred to by medieval authors are compiled, such as the characteristics of people described by the planet they were born under or the balance of their humours; the inhabitants of earth, aether, and the sky; daemons, angels and faeries; the separation of body and soul. A very good reference, and the beginning of a very long reading list.


Remarkable intro to literature

by otterman7 on Apr 23, 2009

This book restores in me the love of literature. Lewis's goal is to help us understand Medieval literature by trying to restore the Medieval worldview superseded by the Enlightenment (that is, the "Discarded Image" of the universe, the world and ourselves.) In doing so, he has got me reading all kinds of supplementary materials, from Homer to the Bible to Dante and beyond. One thing he stresses is how much thinking people in the Medieval period knew about our earth and its place in the universe. They knew it was round and that it was relatively tiny. Although they did think the sun rotated around it (as it appears to do), they also knew that the earth was far from the center of the universe, believing the center to be God. If you have any interest in Medieval literature, or the history of science or Christianity, this is an indispensable read. It is also great fun!

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