Wednesday, June 17, 2009


More on that often revisited topic--that feeling of homesickness for faraway places you've never been.

Today, Laura sent me a link to a blog post titled "Longing" that talked about sehnsucht. The author writes "
there is something in the experience which suggests this far off country is very familiar and indicative of what we might otherwise call “home”. In this sense it is a type of nostalgia, in the original sense of that word." This, of course, sent me scurrying to check the original meaning of "nostalgia." Etymonline says that orginally it was a severe homesickness. That seems right.

After checking that, I searched for more on sehnsucht. One tidbit, not actually related, is that this is the title of the second Rammstein album. Not relevant but not uninteresting, either.

Next I found a Wikipedia article (it seems the above blog entry was taken from here, actually) that has some good information including sehnsucht in C.S. Lewis' works. Here's a quote from Lewis they use, repeated here because I really like it: "
That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World's End, the opening lines of "Kubla Khan", the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves."

And another Lewis quote: "The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing." I am going to have to read his writings on this subject! I'm thrilled to find out that there's something to read!

Finally, here's an article called "Joy and Sehnsucht." More about Lewis. I'm saving it to read later. I'm just happy to have a word for this now.

1 comment:

Eva Korban David said...

I stumbled across you blog from a Google alert for the terms CS Lewis and desire, and you've touched on my favorite topic! I've been exploring the concept of sensucht, in my blog ( a theology of desire .)

Thanks for the post and the great references!

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