Lewis and Passion

The most passionate performance that night might have been Luciano Pavarotti's climactic aria from Puccini’s opera "Turandot.” Yet Puccini's magnificent music might not have stirred C. S. Lewis' heart as dramatically as did Richard Wagner's operas, especially "The Ring of the Nibelung." He was ecstatic about its mythical themes[10] and powerful music. In his book, Surprised by Joy, he described his passion:

"All this time I had still not heard a note of Wagner's music, though the very shape of the printed letters of his name had become to me a magical symbol.... I first heard a record of the Ride of the Valkyries.... To a boy already crazed with 'the Northernness' [the Norse and Germanic myths behind Wagner's work], the Ride came like a thunderbolt.... [I]t was... a new kind of pleasure, if indeed 'pleasure' is the right word, rather than trouble, ecstasy, astonishment, 'a conflict of sensations without name." [page 75]

"We are taught in the Prayer Book to 'give thanks to God for His great glory.'... I came far nearer to feeling this about the Norse gods whom I disbelieved in than I had ever done about the true God while I believed. Sometimes I can almost think that I was sent back to the false gods there to acquire some capacity for worship...." [page 77]

But God warns us, "You love evil more than good...." [Psalm 52:3] "

C.S. Lewis - Surprised by Joy

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