Spent a free hour in my first official day as a Year 13 student relaxing on the college lawn, taking photographs like the one above, reading, listening to birdsong… all whilst having the delightful opportunity to sunbathe a bit! Great for the sun to have come out again.
An introduction to Shakespeare has led me to believe that learning his language is going to be a perpetual nightmare. But hey ho. I’ve enjoyed reading some of Shakespeare Stories (simplified and shortened in modern English versions) so hopefully I’ll get the hang of it and then I’ll be alright!
But happily I sat down with the understandable and engaging C.S. Lewis and finished Surprised By Joy, published in the wonderful language period of 1955 (much easier to follow than the Shakespearean 1600s!). I smiled as I found that as I had previously written about the connections between Joy and Love in gaining inspiration from the first chapter, the penultimate chapter seemed to echo my original thoughts…
There was no doubt that Joy was a desire (and, in so far as it was also simultaneously a good, it was also a kind of love).
… which resulted in me feeling as though the whole book has revealed more about my personal journey as well as understanding more greatly his. Which has “surprised” me! 🙂
There are now many underlined passages softly pencilled into my copy of Surprised By Joy, one in particular being on pg 238, about the peacefulness that comes in knowing and accepting reality…
…once one had dropped the absurd notion that reality is an arbitrary alternative to ‘nothing’, one gives up being a pessimist (or even an optimist). There is no sense in blaming or praising the Whole, nor, indeed, in saying anything about it. Even if you persist in hurling Promethean or Hardyesque defiances at it, then, since you are a part of it, it is only that same Whole which through you ‘quietly declaims the cursings of itself’ – a futility which seems to me to vitiate Lord Russell’s stirring essay on ‘The Worship of a Free Man’. Cursings were as futile, and as immature, as dreams about the western garden. One must (like Carlyle’s lady) ‘accept’ the universe; totally, with no reservations, loyally. This sort of Stoical Monism was the philosophy of my New Look. And it gave me a great sense of peace. It was perhaps the nearest thing to a religious experience which I had had since my prep. school days. It ended (I hope for ever) any idea of a treaty or compromise with reality.
So much can be learnt from literature. So much inspiration can be found. Perhaps then, as I found one poem of Philip Larkin’s that I could enjoy (Here), I’ll find some enjoyment in studying Shakespeare too eh?