The Madness of Catching Light: On C.S. Lewis, Lacan and the Sublime

One of C.S. Lewis’ most interesting and intriguing works is a short story entitled ‘Light’. A huge amount of controversy and mythology surrounds the text itself, and it was never published in his lifetime. Indeed, its final form wasn’t published until two decades after his death. This is a dark story that reads like something penned by Jean-Paul Sartre or Camus. In this seminar I offer a close reading of the story and use it to unpack the nature of desire, the madness that comes from certainty and the nature of the Sublime. I’ll employ the story as a means of shedding light on Lacan’s enigmatic statement, “do not give way on your desire” and draw out the difference between fundamentalist fanaticism and a healthy celebration of the Sublime.

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