Sacramental Ontology in That Hideous Strength


  • Toby F. Coley University of Mary Hardin-Baylor


studdock, merlin, n.i.c.e., st. anne's, bultitude


C.S. Lewis is known primarily as an apologist for the fundamental doctrines of traditional Christianity. As a committed Anglican, Lewis argued for a sacramental vision of creation, one that understands God’s grace to act through the natural world and its inhabitants. That Hideous Strength, the third novel in Lewis's Ransom trilogy, embodies a sacramental ontology that helps readers to make sense of the novel in insightful and provocative ways, synthesizing many of the threads within the novel into a cohesive braid. Toby F. Coley argues that interpreting the meeting places, meals, and protagonists’s marriage in the novel through this sacramentalism uncovers a wealth of insight into the narrative’s development.

Author Biography

Toby F. Coley, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Toby F. Coley (Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing, Bowling Green State University) is associate professor of English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Belton, TX). His research interests include writing, rhetoric, Christianity, and C.S. Lewis. He is currently exploring Lewis’s ascetical-devotional works. His publications have been featured in Rhetoric Review; Computers and Composition; Computers & Composition Online; Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy; Christianity and Literature; and Sehnsucht: The C.S. Lewis Journal. He also writes poetry, creative nonfiction, and short stories. His creative work has been featured in venues such as the The Windhover, Black & White, and The FictionWeek Literary Review.