A Sword Between the Sexes: C. S. Lewis’s Long Journey to Gender Equality

Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen

In this essay Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen argues that across his lifetime, C. S. Lewis’s views on gender relations shifted. He espoused traditional views about male authority in family and church for much of his life, and not infrequently wrote about women in a patronizing and limiting way. While such attitudes were common to his era, Lewis’s were also complicated by his personal history and lifetime fascination with the idea of mythic archetypes. However, he had positive relationships with women who were his intellectual peers, including his late-life wife Joy Davidman. In his later and less-read works, especially some written after he met Davidman, he moves clearly towards a more egalitarian view of gender relations. Ms. Van Leeuwen is Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Eastern University.

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Last Updated: July 16, 2007
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