The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
is non-fiction and the last book written by C. S. Lewis
. Multilayered, it is on one level a work that deals with medieval cosmology
and the Ptolemaic universe
, the "model" of the world used by the medievals - "the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe.
"C.S. Lewis: The Discarded Image
, back cover, Cambridge University Press, 1995
The central themes of the book include the structure of the medieval universe, the nature of its inhabitants, the notion of a finite universe, ordered and maintained by a celestial hierarchy, and the ideas of nature. At the same time, Lewis takes his reader on a tour of some of the pinnacles of medieval thought (some of them inherited from Classical Paganism
) that have survived into the modern cultural and theological
Several reviews of the book were positive, for example,
- "Wise, illuminating, companionable, it may well come to be seen as Lewis’ s best book." The Observer
- "the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind."