About CS Lewis

About C.S. Lewis, creator of the Chronicles of Narnia

Clive Staples Lewis—better known as C.S. Lewis—was an English professor of medieval literature who is best known for his Christian writings, including the series of children’s fantasy books known as The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis was a friend, colleague and neighbor of another great English fantasy writer, J.R.R. Tolkien, creator of the Lord of the Rings.

Born to a Protestant family in Belfast, Ireland, on November 29, 1898, Clive Staples Lewis was known as Jack to his closest friends and family. After his mother died in 1908, he attended several different schools in England. Although he abandoned his Christian faith in 1913, he returned to Christianity in 1931.

As a child, Lewis apparently was enchanted by the worlds created by Beatrix Potter, perhaps explaining the talking animals of the Narnia series. He also later grew much interested in Norse mythology.

Lewis served on the front lines during World War I, and was wounded at the Battle of Arras. Discharged in 1918, he returned to his studies, receiving high honors.

For thirty years, Lewis taught as a fellow of Magdalen College in Oxford. He later served as the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissand LIterature at Cambridge. His academic work focused on the medievel use of allegory—especially in the High Middle Ages. His criticism of Milton’s Paradise Lost still is considered an important work in that field.

Lewis also was a member of “The Inklings,” a literary discussion society whose memebrs included J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and Owen Barfield.

Although his scholarly work is well known in academic circles, it is his more popular novels that have gained him immortality—especially the children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Lewis’ first novel was The Pilgrim’s Regress, which followed his progress as a Christian. It was deemed a failure at the time.

The Chronicles of Narnia have been much more successfu. A series of seven fantasy novels for children, the Chronicles describe the adventures of a group of children who visit a magical world called Narnia.

Although the novels have Christian themes, they are never preachy and can be read as non-religious adventure stories. The novels have been described as an allegory, a charge which Lewis refuted. Instead, he said that he wrote the novels when he wondered what it would be like if Jesus Christ was incarnated on another world or planet to save the souls of those inhabitants.

The most popular of the seven is “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, which also was the first one published.

Lewis also wrote more explicitly Christian works such as “The Great Divorce” and “The Screwtape Letters,” which is composed of letters of advice from an elder demon named Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood.

In addition to his novels and non-fiction works on medieval literature, Lewis wrote several books about Christianity, of which “Mere Christianity” is perhaps the msot important. In it, and other works, Lewis attempts to present a logical and reasonable case for Christianity. He has been called “The Apostle to the Sceptics” for his approach, which was influenced by his own reconversion.

Lewis also wrote an autobiography entitled Surprised by Joy, which describes his conversion. (It was written before he met his wife, Joy Gresham.) His essays and public speeches on Christian belief, many of which were collected in God in the Dock and The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, remain popular today for their insights into faith.

Lewis died on November 22, 1963, but his passing was little noted because of the simultaneous deaths of John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley.

His work, however, lives on.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 07:31 PM
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The Last Battle

The Last Battle

The Last Battle is the final novel in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. It is the last book to be published, and also the last in the internal chronology. Lewis was awarded the Carnegie Medal for the book.

Plot Synopsis

Coming Soon

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 07:30 PM
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The Silver Chair

The fourth book published in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair is the sixth book in the internal chronology. It is the first book in the series in which the Pevensie children do not appear.

Plot Synopsis

Coming Soon

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 07:15 PM
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Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The third book in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth in chronological order. It was originally published in 1952.

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are sent to visit their obnixious cousin Eustace Scrubb. While on this trip, they chance upon a new portal to Narnia, as they are drawn—with their cousin—into a painting of the ship Dawn Treader.

Landing in the ocean, they are immediately rescued by the crew of the Dawn Treader, captained by their old friend, Prince Caspian—now known as King Caspian the Tenth. It turns out that Caspian is on a quest to find the seven lost lords who were loyal followers of his father, Caspian IX. He has vowed to search for a year and a day.

Eustace continues to behave very badly, complaining loudly about the ship, and threatening all sorts of legal action. He almost immediately gets into a fight with the valiant and honorable mouse-warrior Reepicheep, but apologizes to avoid a duel.

From this point, the novel takes place in a series of episodes, as the adventurers journey from island to island, encountering many wonderous things. In structure, it is much like the tales of Jason and the Argonauts, the Odyssey or Sindbad.

The Dawn Treader’s first stop is the Lone Islands. There, Caspian, Reepicheep, Lucy, Edmund and Eustace are taken captive by slavers. Caspian is sold to a Lord, who turns out to be one of the seven missing lords: Bern. Together, Caspian and Bern bluster their way into the palace of Gumpas, Governor of the Islands. They reestablish the dominion of Caspian over the islands, rescue their companions from the slavers, and put an end to slavery in the lands of Narnia.

After leaving the Lone Islands, a storm wrecks the Dawn Treader, and the voyagers are forced to take refuge on Dragon Island to make repairs. Eustace gets separated from the party and is transformed into a Dragon. He suffers much in his new form, but also undergoes a great deal of personal growth. In the end, just as it seems as though the Dawn Treader’s crew will have to leave him behind, Aslan appears and helps Eustace change back into a human. Their stay on the island also reveals the fate of Lord Octesian.

At sea once again, the Dawn Treader encounters a sea monster, and then continues on to an island where they discover a pool of water that transforms things to gold. A gold statue at the bottom of the pool may well be the body of one of the missing Lords.They name the island “Deathwater” and continue on their voyage.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 07:06 PM
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Prince Caspian

Published in 1951, Prince Caspian was the second published, but in the internal chronology is fourth in the Chronicles of Narnia. It is also the second in the series of motion pictures based on the books, to be released in the summer of 2008

Plot Summary

WARNING: Spoilers

While standing on a train station in 1941, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are magically whisked away to a beach near an old and ruined castle. They soon discover that the ruins are Caer Paravel, where they once ruled as the Kings and Queens of Narnia. Although only a year has passed in the real world, a thousand years have passed in Narnia.

A dwarf whom they rescue from drowning tells them the sad tale: During their absence, a race of men called Telmarines have invaded Narnia, driving the Talking Beasts into the wilderness. Narnia now is ruled by King Miraz, a cruel despot.

Miraz also is an usurper, having killed his brother, King Caspian the 9th to take the throne. His son, Prince Caspian, has grown up ignorant of his uncle’s evil deeds, but as the boy grows older, Miraz decides that he, too must die. Caspian escapes and finds himself among the Talking Beasts. The accept him as the True King of Narnia and promise to help him regain this throne.

An army is assembled—although it is far short of the mighty armies that Narnia has been able to assemble in the past. Prince Caspian fights as best he can, but has been slowly losing to Miraz. Desperate for help, Caspian has blown Queen Susan’s horn—and it was that act that called the four children to Narnia.

Having heard the story, the true Kings and Queens of Narnia make their way to the battlefield. But the journey is long and hard, and the children lose their way. It is then that Lucy sees Aslan. Unfortunately, the others do not believe her. Their faith is tested, but in the end, Aslan leads them to Caspian.

The forces of evil are defeated in a battle by Aslan’s table. Miraz is killed by one of his own men.

In the end, Aslan returns the Telmarines back to their world, and the children back to the train station. 

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 07:04 PM
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The Horse and His Boy

Published in 1954, A Horse and His Boy was the fifth book published in the series, although it is the third in the internal chronology, following The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

It is an interesitng book for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only book in the series which does not have as its main characters children from our world. And second, it is a “story within a story”, in that it is refered to in the fourh book, The Silver Chair.

Plot Synopsis

WARNING: Plot Spoilers

Raised as a fisherman’s son, a boy named Shasta is is surprised to learn that he was a castaway foundling when he is sold to a cruel Calormene general. Shasta learns that the General’s horse, Bree can talk, and the two decide to escape and make their way north to Narnia. Along the way, they are joined by another escapee, Aravis—a Calormene noble—and her talking horse Hwin.

Arriving in the Capital of Calormen, Shasta is mistaken by a procession of Narnian royalty for Corin, prince of Archenland, who had been travelling with the Narnians. He is too scared to reveal his true identity. Tensions are high, because the Narnians fear that if Queen Susan refuses to marry Calormene price Rabadash, they will be held prisoner.

Amazingly, Shasta is later helped to escape by the real Prince Corin. He reunited with Aravis, who is being helped by a friend. During her escape, Aravos learns of a plot to attack Archenland as a launching pad for an invasion of Narnia.

Escaping from the city, Aravis, Shasta and the talking horses cross the desert to try to warn the people fo Archenland. After an encounter with a lion, which injures Aravis and the horses, Shasta is forced to go on alone. He manages to warn Archenland of the invasion in time for a defense to be mounted.

Shasta is then revealed to be Cor—the long-lost twin of Prince Corin of Archenland—which explains the mistaken identity. Shasta / Cor eventually marries Aravis.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 06:59 PM
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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Published in 1950, The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe is the best known and the first to be published of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Plot Synopsis

WARNING: Plot Spoilers

In 1940, four children —Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy—evacuated from London during the blitz are assigned to live with an elderly Iprofessor named Digory Kirke, his housekeeper Mrs. Macready and three servants.

Exploring the house, the children find a room that is empty but for a large wardrobe. (made from the wood of the appletree from book, The Magician’s Nephew). When the others have gone, Lucy enters the wardrobe and discovers that it is the gateway to another world. She walks into the snowy wood, where she reaches a lamp post and meets a faun named Mr. Tumnus. Tumnus invites Lucy to his cave, where he confesses that he is in the pay of the White Witch, and has been ordered to turn over any Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve he encounters. Mr. Tumnis, however, finds that he cannot do it and returns Lucy to the lamp post where she goes back through the wardrobe. Miraculously, despite the length of her visit in Narnia, almost no time has passed in England.

Lucy re-enters the wardrobe a few days later and is followed by Edmund. He is unable to find his sister, but is instead met by the White Witch. She tempts him with his favorite treat—Turkish Delight—and convinces him to bring his brothers and sisters back with him. On his way back, he meets Lucy, who has been to meet Mr. Tumnus.

After returning, Edmund denies that the two of them have been to Narnia and says that they have been playing a game. After some angry words, narnia and the wardrobe appear to be forgotten.

Some time later, the children hide in the wardrobe to escape from Mrs. Macready and some visitors. Noticing a light at the back of the warddrobe, they push through the coats and find themselves in the snowy wod. Lucy takes them to Mr Tumnus’s cave, but finds that it has been wrecked. A note from the wolf Maugrim, Chief of the White Witch’s Secret Police tells them that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested and is charged with treason. Lucy realizes that she is the cause of his arrest and is determined to save them.

Visiting with a friendly beaver family, the children learn that the great lion, Aslan—maker of Narnia—is returning from across the Sea to meet them at the Stone Table. Mr. Beaver also tells them of a prophecy: that when two Sons of Adam, and two Daughters of Eve sit on the thrones of Cair Paravel (the Capital of Narnia), it will be the end of the White Witch.

During the visit at the Beaver’s lodge, Edmund manages to slip out unnoticed to return to the White Witch. She is furious that he returend without his siblings, and even more so when she learns that Aslan has returned to Narnia. The Witch orders Maugrim to go with his wolves and kill the beavers and anyone else he finds. She then takes Edmund on her sled to the Stone Table to confront Aslan.

The White Witch’s sled passes a group of animals who are eating a holiday meal. She demands to know who gave them the food, and when the animals tell her that it was Father Christmas, she turns them to stone. Edmund begins to realize that the Witch is evil.

In the meantime, Father Christmas has also come to visit the other thre children and the Beavers. Peter gets a sword and shield; Susan an ivory horn and a bow and arrow; Lucy receives a dagger and a potion which will restore ill or injured people to health. They continue on to the Stone Table, where they meet Aslan. By the time they get there, they find that the Lion’s magic has completely melted the snow.

Aslan sends a team of animals to rescue Edmund, and then shows Peter Cair Paravel, where he will be named High King. While they are gone, Susan starts blowing her horn. Peter returns and defeats Maugrim, the White Witch’s Chief of Secret Police. Edmund is rescued and reunited with his siblings.

The Witch, however, demands the return of Edmund, whom she has named a traitor. It is her claim that Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time has given her claim over all traitors. After a private discussion with her, Aslan announces that he has settled her claim on Edmund.

Later that night, Susan and Lucy notice that Aslan is missing, and go in search of him. While they watch from hiding, Aslan is executed on the Stone Table by the White Witch. His death is not final, however, and in the morning they find that Aslan has been brough back to life by an older magic which guarantees that the wrongly sacrificed will return to life.

Riding on the back of Aslan, Susan and Lucy are taken to the courtyard of the Witch’s castle. There, Aslan revives hundreds of creatures who have been turned to stone by the White Witch—including Mr. Tumnus.

A great battle between the forces of good and evil then ensues. The Witch is killed when she falls into a ravine while fleeing the victorious army of Aslan. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are then crowned kings and queens of Narnia at Cair Paravel. They rule for many years.

A long time into their children’s reign, a white stag is spotted in Narnia. If captured, it will grant to anyone their wishes. In hot pursuit of the stag, the four children head into the Wild Woods of the West. There, they come acoss the lamp post, which they first saw many years before. They pass back through the warddrobe and return to England. Only a few minutes have passed in the real world.

The children tell Professor Kirke about Narnia, and he tells them that the gateway through the wardrobe to Narnia is closed. But there are other avenues.

Posted by The Editor on 02/07 at 06:57 PM
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