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C. S. Lewis on the Final FrontierScience and the Supernatural in the Space Trilogy$
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Sanford Schwartz

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374728.001.0001

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Paradise Reframed: Keeping Time on Planet Venus

(p.53) II Perelandra
C. S. Lewis on the Final Frontier

Sanford Schwartz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Perelandra, the second volume of the Space Trilogy. Once again Lewis’s target is the modern evolutionary or “developmental” paradigm, but in this novel the emphasis shifts from the materialist “struggle for existence” to Henri Bergson’s more affirmative vitalist philosophy of creative (or emergent) evolution. Just as Martian civilization represents a transfiguration of the Darwinian view of the evolutionary process, the ever developing and open-ended character of the creation on Venus suggests that this new Eden is a sublimated version of creative evolution itself. In this way Lewis searches out the common ground, as well as the defining differences, between Christian tradition and the momentous intellectual changes that inverted the traditional priority of Being over Becoming at the turn of the twentieth century. As in the first novel, Lewis is “raising” or “taking up” the same evolutionary view he is simultaneously putting down.

Keywords:   Becoming, Bergson, evolution, Eden, emergent evolution, Perelandra, time, Venus, vitalist

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