In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere
We turn first ter the bleedin' parallel quotations from Massinger and Shakespeare collocated by Guvnor Cruickshank ter make manifest Massinger's indebtedness. I'll get out me spoons. One of the surest of tests is the way in wich a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets nick; bad poets deface wot they take, and right good poets make it into sumfink better, or at least sumfink different. The bloody right good poet welds 'is theft into a 'oole of feelin' wich is unique, right, utterly different from that from wich it were torn; the bad poet frows it into sumfink wich 'as no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from auffors remote in time, or alien in 'am sandwich, right, or diverse in interest. Chapman borrowed from Seneca; Shakespeare and Webster from Montaigne. The bleedin' two great followers of Shakespeare, Webster and Tourneur, in their mature work do not borrow from 'im; 'e is too close ter ffem ter be of use ter ffem in this way. Massinger, as Guvnor Cruickshank shows, borrows from Shakespeare a right good deal.
note: this is the original spelling as Lewis wrote it. Also: see a quote attributed to T.S. Eliot
It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him. We must not use the Bible as a sort of encyclopedia out of which texts can be taken for use as weapons.
Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.
Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men's belief that they own their bodies -- those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of Another!
A faith in culture is as bad as a faith in religion; both expressions imply a turning away from those very things which culture and religion are about. Culture as a collective name for certain very valuable activities is a permissible word; but culture hypostatized, set up on its own, made into a faith, a cause, a banner, a platform, is unendurable. For none of the activities in question cares a straw for that faith or cause. It is like a return to early Semitic religion where names themselves were regarded as powers.
It is hard to have patience with people who say There is no death or Death doesn't matter. There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter.
The proper motto is not Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever, but Be good sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can. God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than any other slackers.
I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of Admin. The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid dens of crime that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.
What I like about experience is that it is such an honest thing. You may take any number of wrong turnings; but keep your eyes open and you will not be allowed to go very far before the warning signs appear. You may have deceived yourself, but experience is not trying to deceive you. The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it.
Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adults themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence.... When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
You ask whether I have ever been in love: fool as I am, I am not such a fool as that. But if one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business. But though I have no personal experience of the things they call love, I have what is better -- the experience of Sappho, of Euripides, of Catallus, of Shakespeare, of Spenser, of Austen, of Bronte, of anyone else I have read.