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Inside "Prince Caspian": A Guide to Exploring the Return to Narnia Paperback – Jan 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801068029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801068027
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,756,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

A guide that offers insightful background, commentary, and notes on C S Lewis' second book in the "Chronicle of Narnia" series, "Prince Caspian".

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Makes Prince Caspian Even Better! 22 Jan 2008
By Tim Challies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Inside Narnia was one of the many books published in advance of the most recent movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The book has proved a success, going through six printings since its release in 2005. In the book Devin Brown, a Lewis scholar and aficionado, offered a detailed look into the world of Narnia, digging far beyond the surface, and exploring this magical world. As I had just read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with my children, I decided to read this as a commentary of sorts, to see what I had missed and what I would want to look for the next time I read the book. I learned more than I would have thought possible. Reading Inside Narnia greatly enhanced my understanding of C.S. Lewis, of the stories he wrote, and of the worlds he created. Because I so enjoyed Brown's first book, I was thrilled to see that he written a second book in anticipation of the imminent release of Prince Caspian, the second film in the Narnia series.

The book begins with an explanation of how Prince Caspian came to be. It will surprise many readers to know that Lewis first began another story that was intended to stand as the second in the series. But this book led to a false start and a story that was left unfinished. After wrestling for some time, Lewis experienced a burst of creativity and, in eighteen months, completed four new works, one of which was Prince Caspian. After providing the book's background, Brown looks to the film of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He lists three areas where he felt the movie improved upon the book and then several ways in which it falls short. He does this hoping that some of the oversights will be corrected in the film for Prince Caspian. Then, as he did in the first book, he turns to whether or not the Narnia books are meant to be understood as allegory. He is careful to point out, as do most Lewis scholars, that Lewis did not intend for there to be a one-to-one relationship between elements of Christian theology and his stories. So, for example, we should not understand that there is a direct relationship between Aslan and Jesus, the cross and the Stone Table. This is crucial to a right understanding of the stories, the characters, and to what Lewis intended to convey through them. Brown also suggests, even if not dogmatically, that the books are best read in the order of publication rather than in the revised chronological order. This would make Prince Caspian the second in the series rather than the fourth. This is, of course, the order the films will follow.

Inside Prince Caspian then follows the pattern Brown established in his first book. He dedicates one chapter to each of the chapters of Prince Caspian and provides ongoing literary analysis. Because Inside Prince Caspian is primarily a literary analysis, it does not focus primarily on the story's religious elements (though there are many other books that do this). Devin focuses instead on language, on consistencies and inconsistencies in this story and Lewis's other writings, on symbolism and hidden meanings, and on the life experiences that stand behind the story. He interprets Prince Caspian through the wide lens of Lewis's vast body of writing.

As an author and writer, this book revealed to me all kinds of good opportunities to look to Lewis for examples or for illustrations. As a reader it revealed to me just how much I missed in reading the book. As a Christian it revealed the depth of spiritual insight Lewis managed to relay even in what seem to be such simple stories.

Literary analysis may sound terribly dull and disinteresting; I found it anything but. I enjoyed both Inside Narnia and Inside Prince Caspian and commend both to you. If you have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian you owe it to yourself to read these books as well. Read the stories, read the literary analysis, and then watch the movies. I am sure this will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of it all. Just trust me on this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Literature Scholar Returns to Narnia 9 Jun 2008
By Phil Tallon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Asbury College professor Devin Brown, author of Inside Narnia, has returned to Narnia again, this time dedicating an entire volume to the second book in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles series, Prince Caspian.

Lewis's popular children's series has now warranted two major Hollywood adaptations, but some may wonder if the delightful fantasy books deserve two scholarly examinations which are intended for a more serious audience.

Perhaps more simply, we may ask, "Why write a book for adults, about a book directed toward children?"

Appropriately, it is C. S. Lewis himself who is a supporter of Brown's scholarly endeavor. More than any other writer in recent memory (except perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien), Lewis worked to dispel the stigma which surrounded reading fairy tales. In 1952, Lewis wrote, "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret, and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so... When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

In his own way, Brown establishes the legitimacy of a book-length treatment in Inside Prince Caspian by noting again and again the deep connections between Lewis's fairy tales and the wider world of literature.

As he notes in the introduction, Brown takes a literary approach to Lewis's work. Like Lewis, Brown earns his living as a Professor of English, which positions him well to explore Prince Caspian's connections to the world of mythology and fairy stories.

Viewers of the recent film adaptation of Prince Caspian will be aware of the mythological creatures with which Lewis fills the world of Narnia. Many, like Prince Caspian himself, will for the first time encounter centaurs, dryads, giants, and minotaurs, and wonder where Lewis drew his inspiration. Brown's book is a good place to begin this journey.

Brown also explores the theological dimension of Lewis's work. As a famous Christian thinker, Lewis is well known for popular apologetic works like Mere Christianity. Yet, Prince Caspian is not so obviously connected to the Christian story as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which features a dying and rising Christ figure, the lion Aslan.

Aslan's presence in Prince Caspian, which takes place over a thousand years after the first book, suggests by his longevity that he is more than a normal lion. But in Prince Caspian it is often Aslan's teaching and example which Brown illuminates for those interested in the Christian dimension of Lewis's thought. In Prince Caspian, Aslan's guidance is first felt by Lucy, the youngest of the four main characters, suggesting that her child-like simplicity and honesty are key building blocks for faith.

It is primarily the well-constructed nature of Lewis's story, however, which is Brown's chief concern, as he shows the skill of the storyteller. Tracing themes of faith, wonder, and freedom, Brown illuminates the depth of Lewis's thinking which might well slip past us as children, only to be understood when we revisit the books as adults.

In a scene which appears in the book and the film adaptation, Lucy encounters Aslan again. Now a year older since their last meeting (Brown discusses the differences in Narnian time and earth time), Lucy marvels that Aslan has grown bigger. Aslan replies "I have not... [But] every year you grow, you will find me bigger." In a similar way, Brown's book rests on the conviction that as we also grow, our appreciation of Lewis's work will grow as well.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Far Different Narnia Than Before 27 Oct 2008
By tvtv3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis is my favorite author of all time and the Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books of all time. Like many fans of Lewis, I was excited about the May 2008 release of PRINCE CASPIAN. PRINCE CASPIAN is a darker and much deeper book than the first book in the series, THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Having read PRINCE CASPIAN several times, I wanted to know even more about the book, especially with the release of the motion picture. When I heard about Devin Brown's INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN, it sounded just like the type of work I was looking for and I decided to check it out.

INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN is an in-depth look at Lewis' PRINCE CASPIAN. The book is divided into 15 chapters, one for each one of the chapters of Lewis' book. INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN also includes an introduction where the author explains how he came to write the book, makes a brief statement about the movie version of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, a statement about why the books are not allegories, and the author's opinion on which order the books should be read. Each of the fifteen chapters following the introduction take examine the chapter they are examining in detail. References to scripture, history, Lewis' life, and other influences upon the text and what the text means are discussed in detail.

Academically, INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN is a book of literary analysis. Many people think of literary analysis of being boring, dull, confusing, and not very exciting. That is not the case with INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN. The book really makes Lewis' original story come to life even more and illustrates why the story is still relevant and popular today.

If you enjoy PRINCE CASPIAN, I highly suggest reading INSIDE PRINCE CASPIAN. After reading it, you might find for yourself, as Lucy did with Aslan, that the story grows much bigger than when you first read it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Return to Narnia with Dr. Brown 17 April 2008
By August - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Another great "commentary" by Dr. Brown. This edition is a great edition for anyone interested in Prince Caspian. Great for book discussion groups - or the leader of one, teachers, etc.
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