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Planet Narnia

Please don't close the door behind you.

Postby Erekose » 24 Apr 2008, 20:31

Whenever I think of Stanley's description, I tend to think of some of Esher's pictures, such as...

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Call yourself a dog???? I've seen better hair on a lavatory brush!!!
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 24 Apr 2008, 21:14

Very good connection!

And those nebulous "in-between" tiles in the middle area are probably the fellows at Bracton College who were generally neither here nor there, but more like pawns (or less) of the two "sides":-)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 24 Apr 2008, 21:20

(by the way, I put the smiley face there on puprose, since I would say that the Bracton College is not really "nebulous" at all, but is the "contrasting" element to Edgestow, the college fellows being sort of the pawns of the NICE, manipulated and sacrificed by the more powerful pieces, and residents of Edgestow being connected more with the St. Annes side with a kind of (yet different of course) "pawn-ish" manipulated aspect.)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Ward and Ford

Postby Bnayqyama » 28 Apr 2008, 05:11

I read the Touchstone version of Ward's thesis and thought he was correct. Now I am reading the book and still think he is correct -- but be careful not to misread what he claims, especially those who accuse him of arrogance.

My problem is that Ward does not cite Paul Ford's Companion in the bibliography or index, yet Paul's article on the "Emperor-beyond-the-Sea," footnote #2, notes that "[i]n the Chronicles, Lewis is trying to restore the medieval worldview; it is always in the background" (194).
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Postby repectabiggle » 28 Apr 2008, 13:45

My problem is that Ward does not cite Paul Ford's Companion in the bibliography or index, yet Paul's article on the "Emperor-beyond-the-Sea," footnote #2, notes that "[i]n the Chronicles, Lewis is trying to restore the medieval worldview; it is always in the background" (194).


Dr. Ford's note is about medieval monarchical hierarchy, I believe, whereas Dr. Ward's thesis is all about medieval cosmology. I don't see where the latter would necessarily have cause to reference the former.

Don't you think, Bnayqyama, that there is a strange failure on the part of all summaries (even by Dr. Ward himself and by OUP) of the book to actually convey what the book really is? I suppose they had to pull out the most striking, central part of the book for that sort of thing, but the problem with that is that the central part here not only supports but is supported by the rest of the book. That is, the book isn't *really* "Lewis had a secret plan to make each of the Chronicles have a medieval planet as its theme." That's *sort of* true, but it looks pretty bare and lame without everything else that is really in the book, hence why I've suggested people actually read the book, and hence why I've given over discussing it with anybody who hasn't. (That and I'm just generally awful at arguing anything!)
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Cosmology and Worldview

Postby Bnayqyama » 28 Apr 2008, 14:11

Dr. Ford's note is about medieval monarchical hierarchy, I believe, whereas Dr. Ward's thesis is all about medieval cosmology.


Your reply is interesting and I will consider it, but perhaps Paul is the one to clarify what he meant by "worldview."

My understanding of "worldview" (I teach worldview, so I have at least thought through it a bit) includes the cosmological order. A hierarchical cosmological order is a worldview.
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Postby Bnayqyama » 28 Apr 2008, 14:20

Don't you think, Bnayqyama, that there is a strange failure on the part of all summaries (even by Dr. Ward himself and by OUP) of the book to actually convey what the book really is?


I have not read other summaries, Respectabiggle, but after reading the Touchstone article I thought I knew enough about the book and did not need to read it myself. It was only after reading a review of Ward's book by a well known Lewis scholar (in First Things, I believe) that I realized that I MUST read Planet Narnia.

It has been a fruitful read so far, but I am only in the chewing stage of assimilation.

(I love your forum name.)
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Postby Jill-at-the-Well » 28 Apr 2008, 17:27

Clearly, I need to get the book and read it. It looks like it'll have to wait a few weeks until I go home, though, because the library here doesn't have it... sad.
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"I daren't come and drink," said Jill.
"Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion.
"Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then."
"There is no other stream," said the Lion.
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Postby repectabiggle » 01 May 2008, 15:37

Michael Ward is a gues on the latest issue of the Mars Hill Audio Journal:http://www.marshillaudio.org/
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The Planets in the Chronicles

Postby Bnayqyama » 15 May 2008, 15:04

The following note appears in Colin Duriez's The C.S. Lewis Chronicles (2005):
"Lewis returns to the astrological planets in The Chronicles of Narnia. In Narnia, the planets are ruled by intelligences, great lords and ladies (rather like the planets in Lewis's science-fiction trilogy). There is not a modern separation, therefore, between astronomy and astrology" (206).
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Postby Puddleglee » 20 May 2008, 12:30

I'm only 3 chapters in, but I'm really enjoying this. It is very scholarly in that it weaves together the whole body of Lewis' work, but is also readable.

I just want to make a few points:

a) Ward as arrogant - I don't think he is, I think he's just really excited by his discovery. However, I can understand how he'd come across that way.

b) Is this Ward's discovery? Well, it's not a view I'd ever heard before, but reading through this thread it does seem that other people have made similar suggestions in the past. However, the really interesting thing about the book is the way he draws on ALL of Lewis' work.

c) Is he suggesting that Lewis lied about hating 'hidden' meanings, and about there not being a hidden, unifying structure of the 7 Chronicles? Ward answers this himself by saying that it isn't hidden at all! It's there, clear for all to see. You just have to look at it the right way.

d) Is he right? Well, I think I can claim to be pretty familiar with the Chronicles (having read them once a year every year since I was 4 ;) ), and certainly the chapter on Jupiter/LWW made a lot of sense to me. I'm looking forward to reading LWW and checking the links he makes. I can't comment on the others, yet, but it's looking good so far.

The reason I like it is that the 'Christian-only' interpretation has never really satisfied me. There are too many gaps - not to mention the use of magic and the plethora of creatures from Classical mythology! This book claims to offer a single, coherent explanation of the Chronicles that can incorporate the Christian imagery as comfortably as the Dryads and Fauns. And so far, it's doing just that.
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Postby matdonna » 26 May 2008, 16:04

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Postby a_hnau » 20 Jun 2008, 17:38

I've just re-read Ward's book, and still finding it interesting and insightful. Something I've recently noticed (having become a bit of a bird nut lately) is that Voyage of the Dawn Treader seems to contain a disproportionate number of bird-related references, almost as though Lewis had been moved to include a significant number of literary/cultural bird 'archetypes' and motifs in this one particular book (one or two that don't occur in VDT get 'mopped up' in Prince Caspian). Apart from the fact that it's an interesting observation in itself (I don't yet see any obvious reason why VDT should be the book in which birds get 'centre stage') I wonder whether there is, or could be, any connection between the bird theme and Ward's assertion that VDT is the Chronicle linked to the planet Sol?

Interested to hear peoples' musings.
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Postby Mr Hooper » 04 Jul 2008, 21:59

I'm four chapters in and yes there is lots of insight, but thus far I am entirely unconvinced by the central thesis. As I think Mr Gresham said, the book is nonsense. Readable nonsense though, with many interesting nuggets. One would think that if the main argument doesn't hold, then most of the points would simply be false trails. But this is not the case. There are some remarkable parallels, and Ward is an erudite guide.
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Postby a_hnau » 05 Jul 2008, 19:04

Mr Hooper wrote:I'm four chapters in and yes there is lots of insight, but thus far I am entirely unconvinced by the central thesis. As I think Mr Gresham said, the book is nonsense. Readable nonsense though, with many interesting nuggets. One would think that if the main argument doesn't hold, then most of the points would simply be false trails. But this is not the case. There are some remarkable parallels, and Ward is an erudite guide.


Think I posted previously that I feel 'nonsense' is too strong - quite possibly Ward is making too much soup from one oyster, as the saying goes, but he is too well-informed and as you say, erudite, for his book to be totally off the point. 'Nonsense' would be the kind of thing written about, say, Tolkien, claiming that the Ring was a symbol for the the atom bomb - when it's indisputable that the central idea for LOTR was firm in Tolkien's mind well before the 1930's and before the general public had any conception of 'atomic bomb'. Whatever errors Ward makes, they are not of that kind.
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