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Jack's Boxen

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Jack's Boxen

Postby meu » 31 Aug 2009, 21:18

Hello to all Wardrobians. I am all fresh & new among you and won't hide that I came seeking for help. I urgently need to know what Boxen, the name of the young C.S. Lewis' fictitious Animal-Land, could possibly mean. Any associations, ideas, ready answers? I just wish to see how do you understand that name, what bells does it ring for you. As time is of enormous essence, I'd be extremely grateful for any kind & helpful reply.

Thanks for your understanding,
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby Sven » 31 Aug 2009, 22:05

Just a guess on my part, but Warnie and Jack mostly wrote the stories up in an attic room. Possibly the presence of storage boxes around them gave them the idea for the name. Originally the stories were set in Animal-Land (Jack's) and India (Warnie's), then they combined their individual stories to create Boxen.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby ainulindale » 31 Aug 2009, 23:11

meu wrote: I just wish to see how do you understand that name, what bells does it ring for you.


Well, it rings bells, but mind you my guesses are not based on any extensive knowledge of Jack -- I haven't even read the book about Boxen. But for some reason it reminds me of when Warnie gave that garden-in-a-tin to Jack and from that he caught a glimpse of joy. So, a tin being somewhat like a box, it could be a combination of Box-Garden. Also, since there was inspiration from Beatrix Potter, maybe there was a connection to names in her stories, and even her name itself has a similar sound, but not so much.

And i was just pondering how the words 'books' and 'box' sound similar, but don't know how that would relate, besides books being their main entertainment.
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby meu » 01 Sep 2009, 20:00

@ Sven & Ainulindale: Thanks a lot! It was most enlightening. So, I see that your chief association was "box" as in "trunk" or "container".
Ainulindale: the garden-in-a-tin remark was very insightful & revealing.
Sven: I also thought about "the attic connection" (what for the "end room" and "Jack's desk") and it seemed to me very probable that Jack chose the name because of his surrounding environment while writing, or, more precisely, creating a "land from a box" in a sort of a "box room"... :smile:

Anyway, thanks again to both of you! If anyone else would like to share an idea...

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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby Lilibeth » 27 Mar 2010, 12:15

Hi! I'm new in here, so forgive me for such a silly question :blush: Still, is it possible to find Boxen somewhere in the Internet? All my attempts were vain.
I'm writing on animal characters in CON, their influences and evolution. So I thought it'd be useful to read what all has started from. Can you (those who've read Boxen) say if this C. S. Lewis' work can help me?
Thanks
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby Sven » 27 Mar 2010, 15:01

Welcome, Lilibeth!

Boxen is still in copyright, so it isn't (shouldn't be) available on the 'net. It is still in print, currently under the title of Boxen: Childhood Chronicles Before Narnia, though it's rather pricey. You can find earlier printings of it in paperback on all the used book sites for a few dollars.

Personally, I don't think Boxen would help you much any research on the Chronicles. The characters in Boxen are not well drawn, both Jack and Warnie had them speak and act the way they thought grownups did. Overall, their attempts were unsuccessful.
Rat! he found breath to whisper, shaking. Are you afraid?
Afraid? murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love.
Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet -- and yet -- O, Mole, I am afraid!
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby Lilibeth » 29 Mar 2010, 06:41

That's not good...I was hoping it would be of more help. Well, thanks anyway.
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Re: Jack's Boxen

Postby paminala » 29 Mar 2010, 20:01

I found the word used in some older literature (a translation of Chaucer, poetry by Cowper, Collins, and some others) it seems to have had two meanings. A sort of shrub similar to a privitt hedge as in "An arbour near at hand of thickest yew, With many a boxen bush, close clipt between, And phillyrea of a gilded green." There are also several references to boxen wood, nautical and otherwise.
It could also mean something or someone pale and colorless as in "his face receives the faded hue of sapless boxen leaves" or "So moved the boxen hosts, each double-lined,... With their white standards, o'er the Alpine snow"
There is also a Lake Boxen in Sweden.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
~ Galileo Galilei
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