C. S. Lewis discussion – The Dark Tower

October, 1977.
C.S. Lewis’ The Dark Tower. Reported by David Lenander.
Tammie Formica opened the discussion by observing that despite the conclusion that Dark Tower couldn’t begin to amount to much, which one might infer from the narrator’s opening comments, that the incident he was about to recount was impossible, she flipped ahead into the book to notice that the unfinished story amounted to 90+ pages.
Margaret Howes thought that DT was “terific.” She contradicted Fr. Hooper’s criticism of the part played by McPhee-that of skeptic right to the end-by saying that McPhee isn’t a skeptic by the end: he accepts the reality of their situation.
Dainis Bisinieks observed that the different characters maintained different perspectives, as we all play diffeernt roles in society. Margaret interjected: “Nelly as the Moral Fool.”
[Here the manuscript is fragmentary, and we have only the cryptic notation:
McPhee works out-Ransome” ]
The form of the Dark Tower, that of Cambidge Library, represents our technology. (I wonder, maybe Lewis just didn’t like the Cambridge Library for its architecture? If I made Coffman Union the Platonic Ideal of Ugliness in a story would I necessarily be making a statement about student unions at large?)
Margaret was sure that this would have been a story beginning with a standard SF device and then developing in Lewis’ usual directions towards classical mythology, and Christian neo-Platonism. There was some discussion of Lewis’s story of Medusa on the moon (SF meets classical mythology) and “The Shoddy Lands.” Someone (Ruth? Dainis? Margaret?) told us that Lewis’ Medusa story was really similar to someone else’s story set on an island with a wall down the middle. No one ever spoke of the other side of the wall where the most fantastic sculptures could be glimpsed. Finally, the visiting Englishman persuades a young boy to give him a boatride to the other side. Would you turn around when the boy turned to marble? When the strange, writhing shadow fell in front of you? Margaret thought that she’d be unable to resist, just to see what the Gorgon looked like. I thought I’d rather keep my imaginings intact. Sometimes it can be so disappointing to see what something you’ve imagined (or remembered from early life) really looks like. On the other hand, if Medusa was as Gorgony as her sisters, I suppose she’d claw one to death if one weren’t stone. (It suddenly occurs to me that her fate may have been a little like Midas’ if she preferred her meat live and on the hoof.)