C.S. Lewis on Emotion and Repression

In a letter to Arthur Greeves, 8 July 1930

“You have I think misunderstood what I said about the return from austerity.  I never meant for a moment that I was beginning to doubt whether absolute chastity was the true goal – of that I am certain.  What I meant was that I began to think that I was mistaken in aiming at this goal by the means of a stern repression and even a contemptuous distrust of all that emotional and imaginative experience which seems to border on the voluptuous: whether it was well to see in certain romances and certain music nothing but one more wile of the enemy: whether perhaps the right way was not to keep always alive in one’s soul a certain tenderness and luxuriousness always reaching out to that of which (on my view) sex must be the copy.  The whole thing has made me feel that I have never given half enough importance to love in the sense of the affections…

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