Date of Award
Master of Arts - English
Although Raymond Chandler and C. S. Lewis seem to be a rather strange pairing, the ways in which they both borrow from Arthurian literature and use the myth to speak to their cultural moment are strikingly similar. Following T. S. Eliot’s use of the Grail quest in The Waste Land (which set a standard for the use of such material in Modern literature), these authors use Arthurian elements as a means of exposing hidden connections between the fragments of the literary past and the present within Chandler’s Marlowe novels and Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. Both men present Western identity as fundamentally dialectical, with every nation and individual struggling between an idealized and corrupted system of values. By making their heroes modern version of Galahad the sacred knight and exploring their conflicts with twentieth-century culture, both authors suggest that the Western world must move beyond corrupted moral codes like chivalry and accept a higher standard of moral idealism in order to escape from this dialectic and destroy the evil that threatens to consume their world.
Thompson, Hollis, "To Reach the Unreachable Stars: Reexamining the Shared Arthurian Vision of C. S. Lewis's Science Fiction Trilogy and Raymond Chandler's Marlowe Novels" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 352.
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