The Lion's World - A journey into the heart of Narnia Paperback – Illustrated, 16 Aug 2012
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'Reading Rowan Williams on C. S. Lewis is like watching two old friends in animated discussion of great, powerful themes. It helps that both are (of course) highly literate: Shakespeare, Thomas Merton, Augustine and others flit across the pages. It helps more, particularly for those just discovering Lewis (or indeed Williams) that both write with lucid and engaging clarity. But what really counts is that, as with the two on the Emmaus Road, we constantly sense a third presence, that of the Lion who will not let us rest in our own little self-deceits but who constantly challenges us to discover the larger joys of his new creation. Those who have loved Narnia since childhood will here discover fresh and sometimes disturbing depths of meaning and power. Those who don't know it will be stimulated to read the stories for themselves. Those who have tried to debunk Lewis and his children's books will find Williams more than a match for them, not as an uncritical apologist but as a wise and humane expositor. How fortunate, and appropriate, for Lewis's old Cambridge college to have Williams as its new Master.' --Tom Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews
'I have often thought there was more to Lewis than is often noticed by his enthusiastic readers. Now he has Rowan Williams, who helps us see that Lewis, who certainly had his limits, was an extraordinary imaginative mind who was able to 'rinse out what is stale in our thinking about Christianity'. Williams' account of the Narnia Chronicles, therefore, helps us rinse out any too-easy criticisms of their author. And together Lewis and Williams enable us to imagine what it might mean to see God in the everyday. We are in Rowan Williams' debt for this deft reading of C. S. Lewis.' --Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School, North Carolina
'Like the Wardrobe, this book opens a door into another world. It takes the reader further up and further in to that world, a world that deepens the imagination and warms the soul. In the company of Rowan Williams, the already rich world of Narnia becomes a theological feast of delight.' --Paula Gooder, Canon Theologian of Birmingham and Guildford Cathedrals
About the Author
Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury. His most recent books include A Silent Action: Engagements with Thomas Merton (2011), Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction (2011), Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (2007), Grace and Necessity: Reflections on Art and Love (2006) and Silence and Honey Cakes: The Wisdom of the Desert (2004).
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Top Customer Reviews
Williams notes that he `came late to Narnia', even with his own `obsessively bookish childhood'. Before he had walked through the Wardrobe or sailed in the Dawn Treader, he had read many of Lewis' apologetic works - Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain and Miracles - alongside his other notable works of fiction. For this, we must be grateful: Williams' narrative is enriched with a majestically broad understanding of Narnia's context within the wider themes that echo across Lewis' work, and which, at their best, convey `a simple intensity of feeling about God'. The Lion's World is not a systemic guide to interpretation - Williams is happy to leave such a task to the likes of Michael Ward, whose excellent book Planet Narnia is reverently referenced - but rather a series of reflections on Lewis' central themes: the exhilaration of an encounter with the Divine `other', the avoidance of self-delusion, and the joy of the surprising discovery of God.
For all the uplifting grand narrative, Williams does not ignore the thorny issues with which readers of Lewis must contend.Read more ›
In The Lion's World, Aslan is taken as an orthodox read-across from Jesus. The depiction of Aslan the Lion lets us sense afresh "what the experience of God is `like'", shedding delusion & falsehood. "Transcendence is the wildness of joy; and the truth of God becomes a revolution against what we have made of ourselves."
This will certainly become a classic for lives enriched by the power of Narnia. This is brought together attractively in a new format SPCK volume with enhancing artwork brought to us by Monica Capoferri. Probing, provocative & a sheer pleasure!
So to me the fact that former Archbishop Rowan has written this book is great as it adds weight to my recommendations and validity to my love for the stories.
There was one huge plus points for me. Rowan focuses on Aslan. The title did not alert me to this but the focus is well placed. While there is a section on meeting the criticisms that have been raised Rowan comes back consistently to how Aslan behaves and what he actually does. I have gone back to the stories to re-read all the dialogue involving Aslan - and it is very instructive.
I only give the book 3 stars because I was hoping for much more; I have great respect for the author,and expected him to be able to point out depths that I had not appreciated. However, some reviewers have praised the book for being concise - you cannot have both brevity and great depth.
I would recommend the book on the grounds that reading it will open up a new understanding or affirm an understanding that has already been gained.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read Chronicles of Narnia first then read this book. Thought provoking.Published 8 months ago by MMooney
A wonderful book, describing an amazing set of books and the thinking pattern of their author.Published 16 months ago by Siamois
.........and you do not have to be in sympathy with their views to enjoy reading the book. Although the book is entitled for the Narnia books Williams makes frequent reference to... Read morePublished on 31 Mar. 2014 by Rodney Dobson
I enjoyed it,as it gave me an informed theological insight into the Narnia books, which I have been rereading. it also sent me back to C.S. Read morePublished on 19 Feb. 2014 by Corinne Lever
This is Rowan Williams at his most understandable providing a sympathetic literary and theological criticism of perhaps one of the most successful and brilliant Christian writers... Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2014 by robin barratt
I borrowed my wife's copy of 'The Lion's World' and probably would not have bought it myself. I am not a big fan of Rowan Williams and in fact wrote an essay 'The disappointing... Read morePublished on 29 Dec. 2013 by Stephen Francis Hayes