Skip to comments.Why Narnia Still Matters
Posted on 11/23/2013 1:00:22 AM PST by BlackVeil
I have a funny sort of personal connection to C.S. Lewis, who died 50 years ago today. Its through my mother: she was born in London and is just old enough to remember the Blitz, and like the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, she was sent to the countryside to escape the bombing. Unlike them ...
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In case it’s not very well known, JRR Tolkein convinced Lewis to convert to Christianity during their time in the writer’s club the Inklings. They had several discussions about it.
That is a very relevant piece of information, when considering the legacy of both men.
Ping and welcome to a new listmember.
I read JRR’s authorized biography and that’s how I know that.
Narnia ping - and welcome to a new listmember.
I think this is true. It is also true that if you read ‘Surprised by Joy’ you would see that, looking back, Lewis really did see his whole life as being a road to that decision.
Thanks - very pleased to have made my way in through the wardrobe!
Good morning- I would very much appreciate being added to the list. Thanks!!
What is amusing about the article is that the author dismisses and forgives C.S. Lewis’s Christianity, while many of us treasure it.
Put me on the list, will you?
“Surprised by Joy” is Lewis’ spiritual autobiography. Certainly Tolkien had his influence, but Lewis was also profondly influenced by the writings of GK Chesterton, specifically, “The Everlasting Man”.
Bear in mind that the author is speaking from the point of view of a fantasy author wasn't brought up in any sort of religious background. It's a bit like a scientist who treasures the scientific writing of Sir Isaac Newton, only to find out that he spent more time investigating religious issues than he did on scientific ones. While it doesn't take away from his scientific work in the slightest, to one who is not religious it does seem a bit odd.
I’ve not read anything by the author of the article, but his mention of that hack Pullman in the same breath as Lewis is rather a point against him.
Maybe I am more ‘tolerant” than a lot of people, but If i read a fantasy book written by a Buddhist, (Such as “The Single Shard, a children’s Book), I don’t find it odd at all that the characters would exhibit a Buddhist World-View. If a Fantasy Book (Such as Rick Reardon’s wonderful kid’s books) use the World-View of the Ancient Greek Olympians, and thus educate Children about some of the greatest myths in our culture, I don’t find it odd either.
So, if C.S. Lewis, an unabashed “Mere Christian”, inserts a Christian World view into Narnia, I don’t find that odd at all.
Writers of fantasy bring so much to the table when they create their Alternate Universes. Roger Zelazhny drew heavily upon Ancient Egypt, and George Lucas draws upon the Yin and the Yang.
Everything comes from something. Fantasy writers draw from the incredible wealth of human culture and experience as well as from hard science. Why should a Christian World View somehow seem “odd” to the sci-fi-fantasy genre?
Yes, but I think it fair to say that he didn't write "Creatures of Light and Darkness" with the objective of convincing some of his readers to worship Ra; whereas in the case of Lewis, it seems painfully obvious that he is trying to inculcate Christian values in his young readers. While I certainly don't have a problem with that as such, I think that in this case it sometimes gets in the way of telling a good story.
There are certainly fantasy authors who use explicit Christian theology in their work without any attempts at proselytization. Just as a for instance: "Her Majesty's Wizard", by Christopher Stasheff.
Why should a Christian World View somehow seem odd to the sci-fi-fantasy genre?
I think it's safe to say that when it comes to incorporating religious themes into sf/fantasy, most authors treat Christianity as Just Another Religion, albeit one with enormous cultural influence. For a writer to explicitly put Christian themes into his/her work with the objective of converting the reader is extraordinarily rare. I can't think of a mainstream sf/fantasy author beyond Lewis who does so (I wouldn't count Tolkien; his work is far more subtle than Lewis' when it comes to incorporating morality).
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