Dr. Charles Huttar, who is a retired member of the Hope College English faculty, recently delivered invited lectures in both the Netherlands and Lithuania on C.S. Lewis.
He presented the address “C.S. Lewis’s ‘Socratic Myth’ of the Fall in Its Cultural Context” on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and on Thursday, Feb. 7, at LCC International University in Klaipéda, Lithuania.
Huttar initially developed the lecture for the presentation at LCC International University, which was established in 1991 and provides a Christian liberal arts education, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social sciences and humanities. The university enrolls approximately 550 students from more than 38 countries, many from Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
“My hope was to introduce C.S. Lewis to them as a major Christian thinker whose work they need to be acquainted with,” he said. The lecture itself addressed issues in the relationship between Christian theology and evolutionary theory.
Huttar has published many book chapters and journal articles on Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and others of the famous Inklings group based in Oxford, England, as well as on other literary topics. He edited or co-edited the books “Imagination and the Spirit: Essays in Literature and the Christian Faith Presented to Clyde S. Kilby” (1971), “Word and Story in C.S. Lewis” (1991), “The Rhetoric of Vision: Essays on Charles Williams” (1996) and “Scandalous Truths: Essays by and about Susan Howatch” (2005).
His talks in the Netherlands and Lithuania are part of a book on which he’s working, “New Bodies in Narnia and Elsewhere: C.S. Lewis and the Mythography of Metamorphosis.” Beginning with an observation about Lewis’ narrative style in Narnia, his inquiries have expanded to include a study of sources, influences and Lewis’ originality as seen in the range of his work—fiction, poetry, literary and social criticism, theological writing and the critique of science. Huttar’s work on the book project has received support from Wheaton College’s Marion E. Wade Center, which focuses on seven British authors including C.S. Lewis and three other members of the Inklings. Huttar will also be presenting a lecture based on his book in April at the center.
Huttar taught at Hope from 1966 until retiring in 1996, with his service to the college including chairing the Department of English from 1971 to 1976. He continues to be active in professional associations, including the Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL) and the Guild of Scholars of the Episcopal Church. The CCL, of which he was a founding member in 1956 and is also a past president and past board member, presented him with its inaugural Margaret Patterson Hannay Service Award in January 2018.