Tag Archives: CS Lewis

Why Sehnsucht

I first came across the word Sehnsucht [ˈzeːnˌzʊχt ]I when I was studying German literature at uni. Even though the word denotes something unspecifiable, no other word can better describe the motives behind the launch of this blog and my search for an answer I may never find.

A yearning for the unknown. Don’t we all carry it.

From Wikipedia: “Sehnsucht […] is a German noun translated as “longing”, “yearning”, or “craving”, or in a wide sense a type of “intensely missing”. However, Sehnsucht is difficult to translate adequately and describes a deeper emotional state. […] Sehnsucht represents thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. It has been referred to as ‘life’s longings’; or an individual’s search for happiness while coping with the reality of unattainable wishes. “

From Levels of Life by Julian Barnes: “There is a German word, Sehnsucht, which has no English equivalent; it means ‘the longing for something’. It has Romantic and mystical connotations; C.S. Lewis defined it as the ‘inconsolable longing’ in he human heart for ‘we know not what’. […] The longing for something – or, in our case, for someone.”

What do you yearn for? Do you sometimes long for the longing itself. Because longing feels like being in love. Like the promise of a hot cup of tea on a cold rainy day. Like the memory of a silent hug from a dear friend who said nothing but saw everything when you were broken inside.