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Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis by [Ward, Michael]
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Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Length: 388 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Wards thesis is taut and compelling, and requires intelligent engagement: this isnt a book to dabble in while half-listening to the cricket. But it is the best book Ive read since well, since at least this one. (Daniel Hannan, The Telegrapg.co.uk)

If Ward is wrong, his is the most beautiful mistake in modern literary criticism. But I don't think he is wrong. (Daniel Hannan, The Telegraph.co.uk)

The whole book is so engagingly written, and so illuminating about medieval symbolism in general. (Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian)

About the Author

Michael Ward is an Anglican priest and Chaplain of Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3453 KB
  • Print Length: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (15 Jan. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SKMOMY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #162,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I continue to be astonished by the sheer depth and breadth of research, investigation and knowledge exhibited by those who are passionate about the writings of C.S. Lewis; even those who are not professional academics or theologians go to tremendous lengths to understand and relate small details of Lewis's life and the background to his writings. Michael Ward's book goes far beyond this; he moves easily across the whole breadth of Lewis's own writings, the literature with which Lewis was familiar (which is to say, most of the literature of Western civilisation), and the subsequent critical and biographical writings about Lewis and his works. I'm not qualified to judge the correctness of his central thesis - that the Chronicles of Narnia are themed on the seven planets of the medieval cosmology. But whether Ward is right about this or not, he has certainly produced a work that achieves something else of great importance; he illustrates again, and powerfully, in detail, the fundamental unity of the whole of Lewis's works, arising from the consistency of Lewis's thought and understanding of the nature of things. He answers some of the more well-known criticisms of recent biographers and commentators (specifically, A.N. Wilson and Philip Pullman). Although (and rightly) a scholarly book, which will best be appreciated by those who have some exposure to the same literature as Lewis or are prepared to go and look up references which they don't recognise, nevertheless this book can be read simply as an enlightening and enjoyable sketch of Lewis's major imaginative works - Narnia, the Cosmic Trilogy, some of his poetry. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of C.S. Lewis since reading the Narnia books at the tender age of 10. When you like an author, you are keen to get your hands on more of his works. Not only did I discover a terrific sequence of science fiction books (the so-called cosmic trilogy), but I was surprised to discover that Lewis was both a Christian apologist and a very highly regarded medieval scholar (I would love to have been present at one of his Oxford lectures which have assumed legendary status).

There is something about the Narnia books, a mystical and poetical element which takes me back to them again and again. A similar atmosphere informs "The Lord of the rings" but is completely absent from the ubiquitous Harry Potter, whatever other qualities he may possess.

Michael Ward takes the credit for discovering a crucial and hitherto unguessed link between the seven Narnia novels and the seven "planets" of medieval cosmology (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, the Sun and the Moon). Incidentally these seven heavenly bodies correspond to the seven days of the week. As soon as he gets started on his exegesis, you realise he is on to a winner. By Chapter 3 I was convinced beyond doubt that Lewis did indeed base these works on his beloved astrological scheme - and deliberately concealed this fact from his readers.

This is not an easy book to read. In discussing Lewis's theology, Ward takes us into some fascinating and obscure backwaters of philosophy. I must admit he left me behind on a number of occasions. Here are some of the words scattered through the text - alterity, anaphora, chthonic, Eutychian, hesychastic, ichneutic, monophysite, oppugnancy, parousia, polysemy. If you understand these words, you will have no problem!

Despite his somewhat dense prose style, full credit must go to Michael Ward for an important discovery about these much-loved stories.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis
Anyone who is a fan of C S Lewis and the Narnia stories will find this a fascinating book as Michael Ward argues that for each book Lewis had a particular planet in mind and that through that imagery he presented different aspects of Christ. This is the reworking of a doctoral thesis and whilst some may be put off by the technical details, others will revel in the detailed endnotes.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Ward is an Anglican minister who has caused a lot of excitement among his fellow academics and others by his claim to have 'found the key'to C S Lewis' fiction writings. The books he has in mind are the Narnia Chronicles (which he calls 'the Narniad' and the Ransom Trilogy of science fiction books. Many have enjoyed Lewis' works without ever concerning themselves with the search for a 'key' but academics have frequently criticised Lewis for the 'hotch potch' of conflicting ideas and the lack of apparent order in the Narniad in particular. Even friends of Lewis criticised his entry into 'children's fiction' and thought that, as a writer, he had missed his mark.

Michael Ward suggests, in what was original a doctoral thesis, that there are unspoken themes to Lewis' works of fiction. Others have also made this claim and suggested various linking themes but none have received wide support as Ward. Lewis was known to be 'a man who liked his secrets' and Ward claims that this is why they were hidden for so long.

Lewis' chosen field of expertise was medieval literature and Ward claims that Lewis has used a medieval philosophical framework for this fiction even though the apparent stories are set in a fairy-tale world or in interplanetary space. Lewis has used the medieval mind-set to create a subliminal mood or atmosphere that was, in a sense the real story, and which was more important than any of the apparent allegorical details. Lewis, says Ward, was creating an atmosphere which in its overall effect cannot be examined too closely without losing its essence. The 'hidden key' to these subliminal moods is the medieval concept of the seven kingdom of the seven planets.
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