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Pity, compassion and love

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  • Steve Hayes
    In the Charles Williams list (coinherence-l) we are having a joint read through Charles Williams s All Hallows Eve , and this particular point might have
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2011
      In the Charles Williams list (coinherence-l) we are having a joint read
      through Charles Williams's "All Hallows Eve", and this particular point might
      have wider interest.

      In the first chapter, there are two dead girls who meet in the empty streets
      of a ghostly London. Lester Furnival had arranged to meet her friend Evelyn,
      but they were killed when a plane crashed on them. Evelyn chatters away and
      Lester find it annoying, and realises that she never really liked her friend.
      She tells Evelyn to be quiet, and then Evelin touches her and this follows:

      On 8 Oct 2011 at 15:45, David D wrote:

      > > Being touched by Evelyn, Lester is "touched by pity, if not compassion"
      > >
      > > Reminiscent of George MacDonald in "Lilith" - "Pity has, but is not love."
      > A fine distinction- pity is compared with compassion -- but I think it works.
      > In another fiction of this period, Bilbo and Frodo spare Gollum's life because
      > of pity; and Frodo, perhaps, rises to compassion for the fallen and ruined
      > creature.

      Yes, and if I recall correctly, the dialogue went something like this --
      Gandalf is telling Frodo how Bilbo met Gollum and came by the Ring.

      It's a pity he didn't kill him, says Frodo.
      It was pity that stayed his hand, says Gandalf.

      I wonder if they discussed that at Inklings meetings -- several of them were
      fans of George MacDonald.

      Since this extends to the other Inklings, and to George MacDonald, I thought
      it might deserve a wider discussion.

      And if you'd like to join the reading of "All Hallows Eve" we're still on
      chapter 1, so it's not too late, and you can find it at:


      Steve Hayes
      E-mail: shayes@...
      Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
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