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Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis Hardcover – 1 Jan 2008
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...remarkable thesis... (Tom Wright, Times Literary Supplement)
Michael Ward has written a book whose 'donegality' is the medieval scholarship, the poetic craftsmanship, the philosophical acumen and the imaginative genius of the self-conciously Jovial Lewis himself. (Tom Wright, Times Literary Supplement)
'Planet Narnia' is a valuable and excellently argued contribution to our understanding and enjoyment of the Nariad.
Revelatory book. (Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic)
Brilliant study. (Murrough O'Brian, Independent On Sunday.)
About the Author
Michael Ward is Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, Texas. His website is michaelward.net
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Well, I am plodding through it but I disagree with the blurb on the back: "Readily accessible to the average reader". I am an intelligent, well-read person but find myself constantly turning over in bed to reach for my Chambers dictionary as Michael Ward uses the most obscure words! Very annoying indeed. However, his theory is exciting and I want to be able to understand what he's going on about. I just resent all the looking-up-words-in-the-dictionary interruptions!!! Readily accessible to the average reader? No way!!!
17th August, 2009: Well, after weeks of struggling through the verbosity and some of the incomprehensible intellectual concepts, I have finally finished (June to August). I understood probably two thirds of what he was talking about but am glad I read it. I'm now re-reading the Chronicles, beginning with The Magician's Nephew.
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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