Feminine Leadership: Spenser's Britomart and Lewis's Reason

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Himes, Jonathan
Arts and Humanities; English Language and Literature; History; Philosophy; Religion
paper description
Scholars have debated the apparent sexism in many of Lewis's statements and in his views on female clergy. Without addressing these particular issues of importance in Lewisian studies, this paper will analyze Lewis's choice of a female virgin in the role of Reason who topples the giant Spirit of the Age in his early allegory, The Pilgrim's Regress. Besides the obvious influence of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress on this work and the feminine figures of the divine in George MacDonald's fiction as another influence, Edmund Spenser's female knight Britomart may have provided Lewis with the idea of a strong feminine leader who steps in to show the would-be hero how to conquer one's competing impulses.