‘Lewis is not particularly interested in us knowing for sure that “Aslan equals Jesus.” He always plays it slant, and never once mentions Jesus by name. Lewis believed that myth prepares us for “true myth.” He loved the story of Balder, for instance, and believed that the love he had for that story, with the god’s death and resurrection, prepared him for the true and (by his estimation) historical myth of Jesus’s death and resurrection when he finally came to accept it. As he told his friend George Sayer, he wasn’t looking to convert people through Narnia so much as prepare them to meet Jesus in the real world. “I am aiming,” he said, “at a sort of pre-baptism of the child’s imagination.”’
“And yet: we are surrounded by literature which is not original and which is successful, enjoyed, and persistent.
This literature is described as flawed, insufficient, not morally improving nor useful to the scholar; self-indulgent, archaizing, written by un-scholarly or un-imaginative persons, or worse yet, by members of marginalized groups; literature which is full of tropes, of expected emotional beats, of Happy-For-Ever endings; literature written using someone else’s characters, for no monetary gain, merely social pleasure and social currency. Literature which insists on being unavoidably present: produced by both the most-educated and the least-privileged—and unequivocally enjoyed (and reproduced, traded, invoked) by both these groups?
You think I’m talking about transformative fanwork here. And I am. But I’m also talking about Byzantine literature from the 9th-12th centuries. What’s interesting is how similar the problems are in evaluating whether some piece of writing is good if we use the criteria of originality to make that determination … both for Byzantine literature and for modern transformative works.”