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 The Discarded Image paints a lucid picture of the medieval world view, providing the historical and cultural background to the literature of the middle ages and renaissance. It describes the ‘image’ discarded by later years as ‘the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe’. This, Lewis’s last book, has been hailed as ‘the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind’.

This is the third entry into the monthly Medieval Book Club, and this is one of the ones I am most excited to read. Why? C.S. Lewis was not only an author of excellent stories and one of the brightest layman Christian writers of his time. He was also a Medievalist, and so any chance to look at his thoughts about the literature of that period is something I get excited about. This is tagged as an introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and I fully expect about 70% of what he discusses to be above my own level of understanding because this man was intelligent on a level I could never hope to achieve. Yet I hope it will be worthwhile to wade through his work and, hopefully, walk away a little brighter than I had been in the beginning. Here is the breakdown of chapters:

  • Preface
  • The Medieval Situation
  • Reservations
  • Selected Materials: The Classical Period
    • The Somnium Scipionis
    • Lucan
    • Statius, Claudian, and the Lady Natura
    • Apuleius, De Deo Socratis
  • Selected Materials: The Seminal Period
    • Chalcidius
    • Macrobius
    • Pseudo-Dionysius
    • Boethius
  • The Heavens
    • The Parts of the Universe
    • Their Operations
    • Their Inhabitants
  • The Longaevi
  • Earth and Her Inhabitants
    • The Earth
    • Beasts
    • The Human Soul
    • Rational Soul
    • Sensitive and Vegetable Soul
    • Soul and Body
    • The Human Body
    • The Human Past
    • The Seven Liberal Arts
  • The Influence of the Model
  • Epilogue

Will you join me in reading this book? You can pick up a copy on Amazon at this link. The post for this book’s reading will be on March 16th, which is the third Thursday of that month.

Check out the full list of books we’re reading this year for the Medieval Book Club.