Planets in Peril: A Critical Study of C. S. Lewis's Ransom Trilogy

Overview

Literary scholar, novelist, and Christian apologist, C. S. Lewis was a remarkable and enigmatic man. He is perhaps best known today for his popular series of children's books, the Chronicles of Narnia, which continue to sell more than a million copies a year. He also wrote science fiction in the form of interplanetary fantasies - a series of three novels known as the Ransom Trilogy. This book offers the first full-length critical assessment of that trilogy, placing the three volumes in the context of Lewis's life...
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Overview

Literary scholar, novelist, and Christian apologist, C. S. Lewis was a remarkable and enigmatic man. He is perhaps best known today for his popular series of children's books, the Chronicles of Narnia, which continue to sell more than a million copies a year. He also wrote science fiction in the form of interplanetary fantasies - a series of three novels known as the Ransom Trilogy. This book offers the first full-length critical assessment of that trilogy, placing the three volumes in the context of Lewis's life and work. David C. Downing reveals the autobiographical and theological subtexts of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, showing as well how much Lewis the classical and medieval scholar influenced the work of Lewis the creator of interplanetary fantasies. Downing also examines the chief imaginative and intellectual sources of the trilogy and addresses persistent issues raised by reviewers and critics: Was Lewis's lifelong devotion to fantasy a mark of intellectual independence or a case of "arrested emotional development"? Were his views on women sexist, even misogynist? How much of his critique of modern science and technology was well informed and how much the result of prejudice or habitual suspicion of all things modern? A brief appendix on "The Dark Tower" fragment provides what background is known about this mysterious document, summarizes the story as far as Lewis developed it, and comments on how this unfinished work fits in with the Ransom books published during Lewis's lifetime.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In a critical assessment of Lewis's (1898-1963) science fiction series, the Ransom Trilogy, Downing reveals the autobiographical and theological subtexts of Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780585227009
  • Publisher: NetLibrary, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 3
1 "Transfiguring the Past": Lewis's Reading of His Early Life 8
2 "Smuggled Theology": The Christian Vision of the Trilogy 34
3 The Recovered Image: Elements of Classicism and Medievalism 60
4 "Souls Who Have Lost the Intellectual Good": Portraits of Evil 83
5 Ransom and Lewis: Cosmic Voyage as Spiritual Pilgrimage 100
6 Models, Influences, and Echoes 121
7 The Achievement of C. S. Lewis: Assessing the Trilogy 140
Appendix: "The Dark Tower" 157
Notes 163
Bibliography 169
Index 181
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