The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

Synopsis

The "Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis's view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean "master morality" embraced by most of the villains of the "Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers' experience of it.

Excerpt

The movie Shadowlands begins with a scene in one of the Oxford University chapels, followed by one of those fabulous Oxford dinners, with all the Dons wearing their academicgowns and engaged in spirited conversation. As we listen in, we discover that C.S. Lewis, the main character in the movie, is not only one of the participants in the discussion, he is also the subject of one of the conversations. One of his colleagues, in a rather mischievous manner, asks how it is that Lewis can write children’s books since he doesn’t know any children. Not to be outdone, Lewis replies that his older brother Warnie was a child at one time, and as unlikely as it may seem, so was he!

A few scenes later, some of these same characters are sitting around a fire in a charming English pub engaged in a similar conversation. One of the members of the group volunteers that he has a complaint about “the wardrobe.” Fans of C.S. Lewis will readily recognize this as a reference to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first of seven children’s books he wrote that are known collectively as The Chronicles of Narnia. The “complaint” is that the book describes the house of an old professor who is single, yet his house has a wardrobe full of old fur coats, presumably belonging to a woman. It is through these fur coats, at the back of the wardrobe that the children entered the wonderful land of Narnia. The explanation for why the old

Actually part of the original inspiration for the Chronicles came from chil
dren who lived temporarily with Lewis at his home in Oxford. These were
children who had been evacuated from their homes during the Second World
War. One of them expressed an interest in an old wardrobe, asking if she
could go inside, and if there was anything behind it. See George Sayer, Jack:
A Life of C.S. Lewis (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1988), p. 311.

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