The subtitle of That Hideous Strength is “A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups.” C. S. Lewis explains in the preface why the book begins with mundane scenes even though he calls it a fairy tale.
If you ask why—intending to write about magicians, devils, pantomime animals, and planetary angels—I nevertheless begin with such hum-drum scenes and persons, I reply that I am following the traditional fairy-tale. We do not always notice its method, because the cottages, castles, woodcutters, and petty kings with which a fairy-tale opens have become for us as remote as the witches and ogres to which it proceeds. But they were not remote at all to the men who made and first enjoyed the stories.
3 thoughts on “Hum-drum fairy tales”
Hmm, I wonder about the accuracy of “the men who made and first enjoyed the stories”. I imagine those were stories told through long dark nights, created through retelling and embellishing, by many people. I doubt they were created by men – more likely by women and men both.
I assume Lewis was using “men” in the generic sense, as would have been common in 1945.
Ahh, 1945. Yes, you’re right, of course. Sometimes it bugs me more than other times.