Hatred between Belief and Faith: Conversion in The End of the Affair and Till We Have Faces

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

Spring 2019


On the surface, Grahame Greene's The End of the Affair (1951) and C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces (1956) could not seem more different, beyond the superficial similarities that both books are written by British converts to Christianity and published in the 1950s. The End of the Affair, inspired by Greene's own adulterous affair with Catherine Walston, takes place in London during, and in the years surrounding, World War II.1 The narrator, Bendrix, converts from atheism to belief after the conversion of his lover, Sarah. In contrast, Till We Have Faces, inspired by Apuleius's ancient Cupid and Psyche myth, is set in a pre-Christian pagan kingdom. The narrator, Orual, undergoes a conversion that plays out entirely within a culture saturated by belief in, and at times fear of, the pagan gods, a conversion that is explicitly pre-Christian in its historical context.