Choosing Our Own Destiny
George MacDonald & C. S. Lewis on Rights, Duties, Heaven
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.
more on C. S. Lewis from the online archives
calling all readers
"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
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
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.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives