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Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles
     

Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles

by David C. Downing
 

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Published in the early 1950s, C. S. Lewis's seven Chronicles of Narnia were proclaimed instant children's classics and have been hailed in The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature as "the most sustained achievement in fantasy for children by a 20th-century author." But how could Lewis-a formidable critic, scholar, and Christian apologist-conjure up the kind of

Overview

Published in the early 1950s, C. S. Lewis's seven Chronicles of Narnia were proclaimed instant children's classics and have been hailed in The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature as "the most sustained achievement in fantasy for children by a 20th-century author." But how could Lewis-a formidable critic, scholar, and Christian apologist-conjure up the kind of adventures in which generations of children (and adults) take such delight? In this engaging and insightful book, C. S. Lewis expert David C. Downing invites readers to join his vivid exploration of the Chronicles of Narnia, offering a detailed look at the enchanting stories themselves and also focusing on the extraordinary intellect and imagination of the man behind the Wardrobe.

Downing presents each Narnia book as its own little wardrobe-each tale an opportunity to discover a visionary world of bustling vitality, sparkling beauty, and spiritual clarity. And Downing's examination of C. S. Lewis's personal life shows how the content of these classic children's books reflects Lewis's love of wonder and story, his affection for animals and homespun things, his shrewd observations about human nature, along with his vast reading, robust humor, theological speculations, medieval scholarship, and arcane linguistic jokes. A fun glossary of odd and invented words will allow readers to speak with Narnian flair, regaling friends and family with unusual words such as cantrips, poltroonery, hastilude, and skirling. This masterful work will appeal to both new and seasoned fans of Narnia, extending the journey beyond Narnia's deceptively simple surface and into its richly textured and unexpected depths.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…in this volume, C.S.Lewis’ biography is given concisely, yet thoroughly…before you go to the movies this winter to see the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, read this book…” (The Eternal Night, 13th December 2005).

“…a masterful work that will appeal to both new and seasoned fans of Narnia, ‘Into the Wardrobe’ offers a journey beyond Narnia’s deceptively simple surface and into its richly textured and unexpected depths.” (www.eden.co.uk, 13th December 2005)

“…fluent and mature…” (Church Times, 9th December 2005)

Library Journal
Downing, a well-known Lewis scholar who previously explored Lewis's conversion to Christianity in The Most Reluctant Convert, here examines the origins of "The Chronicles," the series' spiritual and moral elements, and Lewis's use of names. His immense knowledge of the many nuances of the series and his ability to bring so many perspectives together are the book's key strengths. Of particular interest is the chapter on Lewis's literary influences and the glossary of odd and invented words Lewis used in the books. For all collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780787978907
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/09/2005
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,134,312
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.74(h) x 1.03(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"[Into the Wardrobe] will be best enjoyed by fans who have read the entire series, but those who haven't may be so impressed by Downing’s exploration of Lewis's deep and sophisticated imagination that they will sneak ‘into the wardrobe’ and devour the Chronicles for themselves."
Publishers Weekly

"Everyone who has enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia and anyone who is interested in the writings of C.S. Lewis must read this excellent work…Downing helps the reader understand how the Chronicles reflect not only Lewis’s towering intellect, but also his strong faith and his sensitive heart."
—Armand Nicholi, M.D., author, The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life

"Like his previous studies of Lewis’s life and writings, Into the Wardrobe proves again that Downing is a master at weaving essential facts and fresh insights into a smooth narrative…a balanced and satisfying guide for either experienced or first-time readers of Narnia."
—Robert Trexler, editor, CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society

"With lucidity and uncommon good sense, David Downing offers a guide to the Narnia Chronicles that will deepen the reader's appreciation of these perennial favorites while illuminating the origins of Narnia in Lewis's life and work."
—John Wilson, editor, Books & Culture

"What David C. Downing does so well is give us lenses through which Lewis’s myriad works come into sharp focus, revealing the convictions, insights, scholarship, experience, and questions that shaped the man who brought us Narnia."
—Jeffrey Overstreet, film critic, Christianity Today and LookingCloser.org

"David Downing's sprightly study of the Narnia Chronicles provides readers with a fresh interpretation of Lewis's children's books…Read and rejoice."
—Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, and author, The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth

Meet the Author

David C. Downing is a leading C. S. Lewis expert, award-winning author, and professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His articles about Lewis have appeared in such publications as Christianity Today, Christianity and Literature, Books & Culture, Christian Scholars Review, and numerous other journals. His books include Planets in Peril, about the Space Trilogy; The Most Reluctant Convert, a biography of Lewis that was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of the Year by the American Library Association; and Into the Region of Awe, a study of the mystical elements in Lewis's life and writings.

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