Planet Narnia

Planet Narnia

The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis

Book - 2010 | Pbk. ed..
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Hailed as "an outstanding guide not only to Narnia, but also to Lewis's thinking as a whole" by Books and Culture and as "absorbing...serious...rich...a brilliant work to be savored, read often and kept at hand when re-reading Lewis's novels" by The Catholic Register, this superb book arguesconvincingly that medieval cosmology, a subject which fascinated C.S. Lewis throughout his life, provides the imaginative key to understanding the seven Narnia novels. Drawing on the whole range of Lewis's writings (including previously unpublished drafts of the Chronicles), Ward shows that theNarnia stories were designed to express the characteristics of the seven medieval planets - the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn - planets which Lewis described as "spiritual symbols of permanent value" and "especially worthwhile in our own generation." Using these sevensymbols, Lewis secretly constructed the Chronicles so that the story-line in each book, countless points of ornamental detail, and, most important, the portrayal of the Christ-figure of Aslan, all serve to communicate the governing planetary personality.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
Edition: Pbk. ed..
ISBN: 9780199738700
019973870X
Branch Call Number: 823.912 WARD
Characteristics: xvi, 347 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.

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scribby
Oct 07, 2017

This is an interesting read; a detailed analysis of how Lewis thoroughly subsumed the old pagan world into the Christian symbolism in the “Narniad” in more subtle ways than including dryads and minotaurs in his invented world. What’s particularly intriguing is that all of this had actually been done centuries earlier, in Medieval Europe – and Narnia does seem to be a slice of the Medieval world brought back to life. That’s partly what makes Narnia so enduring and magical (along with longer works by other authors: The Lord of the Rings and, to a lesser extent, the Dune series) – it’s a newly invented world, but it has deep, deep roots. On the minus side, some of the examples seem to be a bit of a stretch (particularly the chapter about Venus, which would not be appropriate in a book for children) and there’s no proof that Lewis had this detailed overarching astrological plan in mind to begin with, but it’s worth thinking about. And then, after thinking about it, read the original Narnia books. They’re even better for adults than for the intended audience of children.

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