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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Malacandra excerpt for language lovers

Then something happened which completely altered his state of mind. The creature [. . .] was talking. It had language. If you are not yourself a philologist I am afraid you will have to take it on trust the prodigious emotional consequences of this realization in Ransom's mind. A new world he had already seen -- but a new, an extra-terrrestrial, a non-human language was a different matter. Somehow he had not thought of this [. . .] now, it flashed upon him like a revelation. The love of knowledge is a kind of madness. In the fraction of a second which it took to decide that the creature was really taking, while he still knew that he might be facing certain death, his imagination had leaped over every fear and hope and probability of his situation to follow the dazzling project of making a Malacandrian grammar. An Introduction to the Malacandrian language -- The lunar verb--A concise Martian-English Dictionary. . .the titles flitted through his mind [. . .] Unconsciously he raised himself on his elbow and stared at the black beast. It became silent. The huge bullet head swung round and lustrous amber eyes fixed him. There was no wind on the lake or in the wood. Minute after minute in utter silence the representatives of two so far-divided species stared each into the other's face.

From: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

3 comments:

jaime said...

It's fun to see what you're reading. It's such a great book and I now realize that it's been awhile since I've read it. And also that somehow or other I don't own it! Uh oh!

thomasw said...

i used that book three years ago in my en10 or 9 classes....i can't recall.

it surprised me how man y students enjoyed it:)
btw, thanks for the leithart heads-up, jenny!
i am reading through against christianity right now.

good cheer, thomasw of fort langley:

Matthew Francis said...

After I read "Out of the Silent Planet," I never looked at the stars the same way. Rather, whenever there's a great starry night I always think of Ransom and the "deep heavens..." and Bruce's "all the diamonds" somehow seems to be playing somewhere too.

Tangent: Reminds me of last year when we had Met. Theodosius here in Edmonton and there was a thing for him and all the youth of the parish and he blew their minds by saying he believed in extra-terrestrial life. But, then again, he also said he was late because he wanted to catch the last ten minutes of CSI.

Also, for some reason I always thought that Lewis had to have been inspired in his characterization of the Hrossa (sp?) by West Coast First Nations communities... their devotion to canoeing and storytelling reminds me so much of the golden age of the Haida.

Godspeed.