Review Essay: A Critical Moment in Lewis Gender Studies
Keywords:Monika, Hilder, Gender, That Hideous Strength, Mere Christianity, Preface to Paradise Lost, N.I.C.E., Ransom Trilogy, Space Trilogy, feminine, masculine, sexism, misogyny, misogynistic
“Sometimes a little of the Oxford don stayed with the redeemed Lewis.” This was a comment given during the question period of a lecture at a large evangelical seminary some years ago. It caused a ripple of laughter throughout the crowd—an audience appreciative of C.S. Lewis’s Christian and literary contribution, but at least in part uncomfortable with some of the gender references in his work. “Lewis and Gender” remains one of the hot topics in Lewis studies, with a rich conversation in play. Monika Hilder’s trilogy of books on Lewis and gender is the most recent critical contribution to this conversation, and is potentially transformative of our view of Lewis’s life and work. This review essay by Brenton Dickieson analyzes Hilder's framework as well as her analysis of Lewis on gender based on her trilogy of books: The Feminine Ethos in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia (2012); The Gender Dance: Ironic Subversion in C.S. Lewis's Cosmic Trilogy (2013); and Surprised by the Feminine: A Rereading of C.S. Lewis and Gender (2013).