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16305Fw: "Beauty of the female" quote from THS

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  • Stolzi
    Jan 31, 2006
      I recently tried to get some help on the quote by cross-posting to the CSL
      list, SpareOom. One of their members wrote

      > A wonderful clue! I've found the letter
      > to Barfield. It
      >> was written June 19, 1930. In it, Lewis mentions
      > Coventry
      >> Patmore's "Angel in the House," and writes this to
      > Barfield: "What
      >> particularly impressed me was his taking--what one
      > expects to find
      >> mentioned only in anti-feminists--the lilithian
      > desire to be admired
      >> and making it his chief point--the lover as
      > primarily the mechanism
      >> by wh. [sic] the woman's beauty apprehends itself."
      >>
      >> 'Lewis expands on the idea in the next paragraph
      > ("The idea of female
      >> beauty is the erotic stimulus for women as well as
      > men.") He then
      >> says: "You are very good on this, in Margaret in the
      > novel,"
      >> referring, as Hooper helpfully says in a footnote,
      > to Barfield's
      >> novel, English People.

      ENGLISH PEOPLE, I have learned, was never published and is in an archive
      somewhere, I think at the Wade Collection. But this citation of a Lewis
      letter may be the first time the idea of the "lilithian desire" crossed
      CSL's mind.

      Other readers checked the Patmore original and did not find the quote there.
      I incline more and more to think that Lewis (a master of pastiche in any
      case) composed the quote which Jane reads, himself.

      Diamond Proudbrook
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