Arthuriana and the Limits of C.S. Lewis’ Ariosto Marginalia
Arthuriana 21.1 (2011)
C.S. Lewis always marked the Arthurian moments in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. Arthuriana, like Christianity, was a forum for spiritual awakening for Lewis. Its marvels suggest that not everything in this world, including right and wrong, can be explained without recourse to some other realm or state.
C.S. Lewis first read Malory in 1911, at age thirteen. Having been attracted by the ‘mystical eroticism’ of Siegfried and the Twlight of the Gods and William Morris’s neo-medieval poems and romances, Lewis reveled in ‘the idealism of an imagined past as he found it in the archaisms of Malory and Spenser,’ according to David Lyle Jeffrey in an essay on medieval scholarship.Thereafter Lewis preferred the romance element of medieval literature to the more realistic Canterbury Tales.