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Frequently Asked Questions

» Are you C. S. Lewis?
   Are you Douglas Gresham?
   Do you have any official connection to C. S. Lewis, the C. S. Lewis Company, or the estate?
   Can you help me get a part in the next Narnia movie?
   Can you do my homework for me?

No.

» How can I contact C. S. Lewis?

Unfortunately, you can't. He died in 1963.

» Okay, so, who are you and why did you create this web site?

My name is John Visser, and I started this site in December, 1994, while trying to find information on C. S. Lewis. At the time, there was nothing available, so I started my own site. Over the years, the site grew as a result of the contributions of others and a little organization on my part.

I am not an expert on the subject of C. S. Lewis. I am, however, a professional web developer and somebody who enjoys many of C. S. Lewis' writings (my favorites being The Chronicles of Narnia, and Till We Have Faces). The creation and maintenance of this site is my hobby, and all donations go towards the fees associated with keeping the site up.

» I have questions that need answering! Can you help?

I have created several resources on this site to help you with your questions. The first thing to do is thoroughly look around, starting with this page. Use the search form if you need to, and don't forget to check the Other Resources link. Also, you can search the forums archive. Another source of answers can be found under Experts & Organizations.

If you are still unable to get the answers you are seeking, you may need to use more traditional methods (a bookstore, a library, etc.).

» Do you have any additional information you can send me?

No, I don't. All the information I have on C. S. Lewis is already on the site, and whenever additional information comes my way, I put it up. I do not send information via postal mail.

» Where can I download the text of C.S. Lewis' books?

Most of Lewis' work is still under copyright, and will be for some time. However, the material that has fallen into public domain can be found by clicking here. Regarding Lewis' other publications, don't forget that you can always find the hard copies at a bookstore or library.

» Can I contribute to the site?

Indeed, you can!  Quotes, news, events, papers, pictures, etc, are always welcome, as well as suggestions on how to make the site more useful. Just use the email form. My time is quite limited these days, so I cannot guarantee when a contribution will be placed on the site.

» Can I use any of the material on your site for [insert reason]?

Since I do not own much of the material here, I cannot give permission to use it. Please refer to the copyright notice.

»What religion was C. S. Lewis?

C. S. Lewis was raised a Christian. When he was 15, he rejected it and became an atheist. He converted back to Christianity when he was 33.

» Do you have an archive of past quotes I can have? Can I receive the quotes by email?

Yes, I do have an archive of quotes, but no, you can't have it (copyright laws, you know). You can get all of the quotes I have here, and many more, by getting the book The Quotable Lewis. The only way to get the daily quote from my web site is by visiting the site daily.

» What is the correct order for reading The Chronicles of Narnia? What do you recommend?

Simply put, there is no correct way. But there definitely are preferred ways.

If you are reading them for the first time, there are two logical ways of numbering the books. When the American publisher Macmillan decided to put numbers on their editions they chose to use the order in which the books were originally published, i.e.:

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
  2. Prince Caspian (1951)
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
  4. The Silver Chair (1953)
  5. The Horse and His Boy (1954)
  6. The Magicians Nephew (1955)
  7. The Last Battle (1956)

When HarperCollins took over the publication of the books in America, they decided to keep numbering the books, but on the recommendation of Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, they adopted the order that follows Narnian Chronology, i.e:

  1. The Magicians Nephew
  2. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  3. The Horse and His Boy
  4. Prince Caspian
  5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  6. The Silver Chair
  7. The Last Battle

This is also the order followed by the current British editions, published by Fontana Lions.

As for my recommendation, I always recommend that the first-time reader begin with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and then continue in the published order.  Once all seven books have been read in that order, read them again (and again) however you choose. I find The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to be a much more engaging book than The Magician's Nephew, and you'll find a lot more surprises throughout the series if you read them in the published order.

» I want news about the Narnia movies! Why don't you have any?

I made the decision long ago that Into the Wardrobe was going to be a site about C. S. Lewis. Other people, I figured, would make sites solely about The Chronicles of Narnia and his other books. The same goes for the Narnia movies that are being made -- for the latest news, including archives and discussions please go to what I consider to be the best Narnia movies online source: NarniaWeb.

» Do you have a recipe for Turkish Delight?

There are several Turkish Delight recipes available online (try at your own risk):


» Where did C. S. Lewis come up with the word "Narnia"?

According to Paul Ford's Companion to Narnia: "..There is no indication that [Lewis] was alluding to the ancient Umbrian city Nequinium, renamed Narnia (after the river Nar, a tributary of the Tiber) by the conquering Romans in 299 BC. Since Lewis's first successes at Oxford were in the classics and ancient history, it is quite possible that he came across at least seven references to Narnia in Latin literature.

"Four references are found in Livy's History (10:10, 27:9,27:50, and 29:15)... ... Tacitus's Annals (3:9).... Pliny the Elder's comment in Natural History about its unusual weather (it became drier in the rainy season).... Pliny the Younger's letter to his mother-in-law, in which he mentions the excellence of the accommodations of her villa at Narnia, especially its beautiful baths. Of all of these references, Lewis mentions only Pliny the Younger, in a letter to Arthur Greeves (They Stand Together, Macmillan, Collins, 1979, p. 171)."

» Are there any tours of C. S. Lewis sites in Ireland or England? Are the Kilns open to the public?

Yes, there are, and yes, if you have an appointment:
The Kilns, Lewis Close,
Headington, Oxford OX3 8JD, ENGLAND
Telephone: 011-44-18657-41865
email: thekilns@cslewis.org.

Additionally, I highly recommend Touring C. S. Lewis' Ireland and England by Perry Bramlett and Ronald Higdon.

 
 
» Did C. S. Lewis win any awards or honors?

The Last Battle won the Carnegie Award, the highest honor for children's literature in the United Kingdom. Also, Winston Churchill offered Lewis a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1951, but he turned it down.

 
» What's this I hear about new Narnia books? What's that all about?

For those concerned about the (now very dated) rumor regarding the "republishing of the Narnia books without the Christian symbolism," please note that this is false. Here is an official statement from the publishers:

"The goal of HarperCollins Publishers and the owners and managers of the C.S. Lewis Estate is to publish the works of C.S.Lewis to the broadest possible audience, and to leave any interpretation of the works to the reader. The works of C.S. Lewis will continue to be published by HarperCollins and Zondervan as written by the author, with no alteration. Zondervan's editorial standards and Christian mission has not changed in any way."