Monday, December 11, 2006

C. S. Lewis and The Four Loves - "affection"

C. S. Lewis's skillful use of language is apparent in this quote from The Four Loves in which he is explaining how one of the loves, "affection", is dependent upon familiarity.

"The dog barks at strangers who have never done it any harm and wags its tail for old acquaintances even if they never did it a good turn. The child will love the crusty old gardener who has hardly ever taken any notice of it and shrink from the visitor who is making every attempt to win its regard."

Other interesting comments about affection:

"the truly wide taste in humanity will find something to appreciate in the cross section of humanity whom one has to meet every is affection that creates this tast, teaching us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who 'happen to be there.'"

"Affection is an affair of old clothes, and ease, of the unguarded moment, of liberties which would be ill-bred if we took them with strangers. But old clothes are one thing; to sear the same shirt till it stank would be another....affection at its best practices a courtesy which is incomparably more subtle, sensitive, and deep than the public kind."

"To be free and easy when you are presented to some eminent stranger is bad manners; to practise formal and ceremonial courtesies at home is -- and is always intended to be -- bad manners."

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