Choosing Our Own Destiny by Charles E. Bressler

Feature

Choosing Our Own Destiny

George MacDonald & C. S. Lewis on Rights, Duties, Heaven & Hell

In January of 1939 C. S. Lewis wrote to a friend that he had just finished one of George MacDonald’s later novels, What’s Mine’s Mine, first published in 1886, and called it the fourth greatest book he had ever read. Lewis asserted in several places in his writings that MacDonald was his literary master, and after reading this comment, I was struck with the similarity of the title to what I believed to be the theme of Lewis’s The Great Divorce, written just five years after he read MacDonald’s novel: giving up all of one’s rights and thereby saying to God, “Thy will be done,” as the only way to obtain Heaven.

The word “rights” appears at least twenty-five times in The Great Divorce and at least fifty times in What’s Mine’s Mine. Could there be a link between these two works?

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Charles E. Bressler is a professor of English at Houghton College and has written several books, including Literary Criticism: Introduction to Theory and Practice (Pearson Education) and a forthcoming book entitled Of Welcome and Wonder, on the literary and spiritual influences of George MacDonald and G. K. Chesterton on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and other Oxford Christians.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on C. S. Lewis from the online archives

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

Lost & Found in the Cosmos

The Alternate & Alternative Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft & C. S. Lewis by C. R. Wiley

20.2—March 2007

Simply Lewis

Reflections on a Master Apologist After 60 Years by N. T. Wright

22.5—June 2009

A Law for All Seasons

C. S. Lewis on Civilization & the Natural Order by Timothy L. Hall


more from the online archives

33.2—March/April 2020

The Fairy Tale Wars

Lewis, Chesterton, et al. Against the Frauds, Experts & Revisionists by Vigen Guroian

33.1—January/February 2020

Surprised by Gentleness

on a Saint's Charism That Cures Toxic Perfectionism by Colleen Carroll Campbell

31.5—September/October 2018

Liberalism Occupied

The Rise of the Gnostic Liberal State After Christianity by Andrew Latham

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00