Sentiment

To go back to the sentiment controversy, your objection is non-sense. You argue that sentiment is delightful in art, because it is a part of human nature. Quite right. From that, you deduce that it ought not to be confined to that sphere of human nature where it is delightful – viz. art.  That is almost as sensible as to say that trousers are delightful only because they are a part of human clothes: therefore they ought to be worn, not only on the legs, but every where else.  Do you maintain that it is a highly commendable and philosophical act to wear trousers, say, on your head?  My point is that art is a receptacle of human thought: sentiment, emotion etc make up that section of human thought which are best suited to fill that definite receptacle – and no other.  For why, when we have found the best place to keep a thing, should we keep it in other places as well, or instead?  By the analogy of the trousers I have shown how ridiculous that would be.  As for your idea that to be young, one must be sentimental, let us go into it.  Young children are practically devoid of sentiment: they are moved only by bodily pain: young men are a little more sentimental, middle aged ones considerably more so, and old ones the most mawkishly so of all.  Sentiment, you see, is a distinct mark of age.

CS Lewis, letter to Arthur Greeves, 11 May 1915

I find that I begin to think in the same manner as whatever it is that I am reading, and I’m finding that definitely to be the case in this book of CS Lewis’ letters I’ve been reading.   In this letter, Lewis is about 17.  If he doesn’t grow up soon, I shall become almost unbearably obnoxious.

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