Milton, Spenser and The Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels

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McFarland, Nov 21, 2014 - Literary Criticism - 196 pages
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In 1950, Clive Staples Lewis published the first in a series of children's stories that became The Chronicles of Narnia. The now vastly popular Chronicles are a widely known testament to the religious and moral principles that Lewis embraced in his later life. What many readers and viewers do not know about the Chronicles is that a close reading of the seven-book series reveals the strikingly effective influences of literary sources as diverse as George MacDonald's fantastic fiction and the courtly love poetry of the High Middle Ages. Arguably the two most influential sources for the series are Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen and John Milton's Paradise Lost. Lewis was so personally intrigued by these two particular pieces of literature that he became renowned for his scholarly studies of both Milton and Spenser. This book examines the important ways in which Lewis so clearly echoes The Faerie Queen and Paradise Lost, and how the elements of each work together to convey similar meanings. Most specifically, the chapters focus on the telling interweavings that can be seen in the depiction of evil, female characters, fantastic and symbolic landscapes and settings, and the spiritual concepts so personally important to C.S. Lewis.

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Contents

The Depiction of Evil Women of Power and Malice
17
The Depiction of Evil Men Mortals Monsters and Misled Protagonists
51
Girls Whose Heads Have Something Inside Them The Characterization of Women
77
An Inside Bigger Than Its Outside Setting and Geography
107
Knowing Him Better There Spirituality and Belief
135
Conclusion
159
Chapter Notes
163
Bibliography
177
Index
183
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Page 62 - Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate With head uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large, Lay floating many a rood...
Page 67 - His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills to be the mast Of some great ammiral, were but a wand.
Page 19 - All my seven Narnian books, and my three science fiction books, began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.
Page 30 - Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace With suppliant knee, and deify his power, Who from the terror of this arm so late Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, That were an ignominy...
Page 13 - But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
Page 46 - Eftsoones they heard a most melodious sound, Of all that mote delight a daintie eare, Such as attonce might not on living ground, Save in this Paradise, be heard elsewhere : Right hard it was for wight which did it heare, To read what manner musicke that mote bee ; For all that pleasing is to living eare Was there consorted in one harmonee ; Birdes...
Page 41 - His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare ; His arms clung to his ribs : his legs entwining Each other, till supplanted down he fell A monstrous serpent on his belly prone...

About the author (2014)

Elizabeth Baird Hardy is an English instructor at Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, where she was chosen as the 2006 outstanding faculty member. She lives in western North Carolina.

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