The White Witch, Aslan, fauns and talking beasts, centaurs and epic battles between good and evil -- all these have become a part of our collective imagination through the classic volumes of The Chronicles of Narnia. Over the past half century, children everywhere have escaped into this world and delighted in its wonders and enchantments. Yet what we do know of the man who created Narnia? This biography sheds new light on the making of the original Narnian, C. S. Lewis himself.
Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential religious writer of his day. An Oxford don and scholar of medieval literature, he loved to debate philosophy at his local pub, and his wartime broadcasts on the basics of Christian belief made him a celebrity in his native Britain. Yet one of the most intriguing aspects of Clive Staples Lewis remains a mystery. How did this middle-aged Irish bachelor turn to the writing of stories for children -- stories that would become among the most popular and beloved ever written?
Alan Jacobs masterfully tells the story of the original Narnian. From Lewis's childhood days in Ireland playing with his brother, Warnie, to his horrific experiences in the trenches during World War I, to his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien (and other members of the "Inklings"), and his remarkable late-life marriage to Joy Davidman, Jacobs traces the events and people that shaped Lewis's philosophy, theology, and fiction. The result is much more than a conventional biography of Lewis: Jacobs tells the story of a profound and extraordinary imagination. For those who grew up with Narnia, or for those just discovering it, The Narnian tells a remarkable tale of a man who knew great loss and great delight, but who knew above all that the world holds far more richness and meaning than the average eye can see.
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C. S. Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. Yet among his poetry, literary history and criticism, novels and Christian apologetics, stands a unique and delightfully imaginative children’s series called The Chronicles of Narnia, which has become an enduring classic. Alan Jacobs takes this imaginary world of Narnia that has captivated children and adults alike for years, and uses the themes and stories found within to explore the imaginative life of C. S. Lewis. Few things are more interesting to human beings than trying to figure out how another human being (espeically a profoundly gifted one) works. Not just a conventional, straightforward biography of Lewis, Jacobs instead seeks a more elusive quarry: an understanding of the way Lewis’s experiences, both direct and literary, formed themselves into patterns--themes that then shaped his thought and writings, especially the stories of Narnia. It is in the Narnia stories that we see the most of Lewis, and this illuminating biography delivers a true picture of the life and imagination of the Narnian.About the Author:
Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of several books, including most recently The Narnian, a biography of C. S. Lewis. His literary and cultural criticism has appeared in a wide range of periodicals, including the Boston Globe, The American Scholar, First Things, Books & Culture, and The Oxford American.
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