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The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

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The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures o The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis’s view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean “master morality” embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers’ experience of it.


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The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures o The Chronicles of Narnia series has entertained millions of readers, both children and adults, since the appearance of the first book in 1950. Here, scholars turn the lens of philosophy on these timeless tales. Engagingly written for a lay audience, these essays consider a wealth of topics centered on the ethical, spiritual, mythic, and moral resonances in the adventures of Aslan, the Pevensie children, and the rest of the colorful cast. Do the spectacular events in Narnia give readers a simplistic view of human choice and decision making? Does Aslan offer a solution to the problem of evil? What does the character of Susan tell readers about Lewis’s view of gender? How does Lewis address the Nietzschean “master morality” embraced by most of the villains of the Chronicles? With these and a wide range of other questions, this provocative book takes a fresh view of the world of Narnia and expands readers’ experience of it.

30 review for The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    As someone who loves Narnia but just doesn't "get" philosophy, this book was kind of hit and miss with me. It may have just been a lot to take in for someone so unused to such foreign topics as epistemology and the like. I do think it's worth checking out if you're a fan of Narnia, however, as it does touch on a wide variety of interesting topics. Definitely something I'm going to have to come back to again sometime in the future... As someone who loves Narnia but just doesn't "get" philosophy, this book was kind of hit and miss with me. It may have just been a lot to take in for someone so unused to such foreign topics as epistemology and the like. I do think it's worth checking out if you're a fan of Narnia, however, as it does touch on a wide variety of interesting topics. Definitely something I'm going to have to come back to again sometime in the future...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    A very engaging read. The book is composed of essays covering topics such as Believing, Doubting and Knowing; Morality and the Good Life; Exploring the Deeper Nature of Reality; and Religion and the Transcendent. One of the things I appreciated most was the obvious affection for the Chronicles shown by nearly all the authors. This book could have been a collection of essays by authors with an axe to grind, but instead the editors found contributors who could treat the source material respectfully A very engaging read. The book is composed of essays covering topics such as Believing, Doubting and Knowing; Morality and the Good Life; Exploring the Deeper Nature of Reality; and Religion and the Transcendent. One of the things I appreciated most was the obvious affection for the Chronicles shown by nearly all the authors. This book could have been a collection of essays by authors with an axe to grind, but instead the editors found contributors who could treat the source material respectfully while also illustrating basic philosophical concepts using examples from Lewis' prose.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jared Leonard

    Some really good essays in here about the underlying content of the Narnia books. They seem to be divided pretty evenly in addressing issues brought up intentionally by Lewis and issues derrived from those issues. Topics focused mainly on ethics/morality, though there was a good deal of anthropology and theology tossed in for good measure. All in all, a fair analysis of Narnia and its inhabitants. I would give it five stars if there weren't a few stinker essays; one on feminism, one on the salva Some really good essays in here about the underlying content of the Narnia books. They seem to be divided pretty evenly in addressing issues brought up intentionally by Lewis and issues derrived from those issues. Topics focused mainly on ethics/morality, though there was a good deal of anthropology and theology tossed in for good measure. All in all, a fair analysis of Narnia and its inhabitants. I would give it five stars if there weren't a few stinker essays; one on feminism, one on the salvation of animals and one on morality that just wasn't put together very well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I've been a Narnian for over 20 years now, and I was surprised that a book written about the Chronicles could offer me ideas that I hadn't thought of before (not to seem arrogant, but I've mentally hashed over these seven books for a long time and have gotten a number of relevations from them). It was a good way to be introduced to some concepts in philosophy, and I'm interested in reading several others of the series that I bought. I've been a Narnian for over 20 years now, and I was surprised that a book written about the Chronicles could offer me ideas that I hadn't thought of before (not to seem arrogant, but I've mentally hashed over these seven books for a long time and have gotten a number of relevations from them). It was a good way to be introduced to some concepts in philosophy, and I'm interested in reading several others of the series that I bought.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dusty

    Quite a few 'philosophers' who use their understanding of historical philosophers to justify their belief in a christian God. Waste of time, wouldn't recommend to anyone, not even avout christians. Quite a few 'philosophers' who use their understanding of historical philosophers to justify their belief in a christian God. Waste of time, wouldn't recommend to anyone, not even avout christians.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Going into reading this book, I really expected so much of it - but then I got to the second or third chapter, and the guy just wrote... so... exhaustingly... slow. His chapter was around 16 pages - and he used only 1 of them to relate the philosophical stuff to Narnia. The other 15 pages were just plain, complicated philosophy. Of course, a lot philosophy is to be expected when picking up a book like this, but the book is supposed to be for everybody (and not just people with a general interest Going into reading this book, I really expected so much of it - but then I got to the second or third chapter, and the guy just wrote... so... exhaustingly... slow. His chapter was around 16 pages - and he used only 1 of them to relate the philosophical stuff to Narnia. The other 15 pages were just plain, complicated philosophy. Of course, a lot philosophy is to be expected when picking up a book like this, but the book is supposed to be for everybody (and not just people with a general interest and/or knowledge of philosophy). That being said, I did enjoy and (I think) fully understand some of the chapters. I'll also definitely be reading some of the others (maybe just the one on Harry Potter...), as this book really did make me think of Narnia as something more than a children's tale. Favourites of mine include the feminist one (Karin Fry, this one is truly the best!), the one on sound (Stephen H. Webb), on time (Michael & Adam Peterson), the communist-ish one (Devin Brown), the one on why Eustace almost deserved his name (Angus Menuge), and the one on Aslan the Terrible (Erik J. Wielenberg).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tintinrulz

    I'm not going to review "The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview" but it's brilliant. Thought-provoking and comprehensive as all else and only slightly too academic (in terms of writing style) at times. I was encouraged that I only disagreed with a few of the essays. Not a light read but a very worthwhile book. Highly recommended. 9/10 The essay titles are listed below: Part One - Farewell to Shadowlands: Believing, Doubting and Knowing 1. Aslan's Voice: C.S. I'm not going to review "The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview" but it's brilliant. Thought-provoking and comprehensive as all else and only slightly too academic (in terms of writing style) at times. I was encouraged that I only disagreed with a few of the essays. Not a light read but a very worthwhile book. Highly recommended. 9/10 The essay titles are listed below: Part One - Farewell to Shadowlands: Believing, Doubting and Knowing 1. Aslan's Voice: C.S. Lewis and the Magic of Sound 2. Virtue Epistomology: Why Uncle Andrew Couldn't Hear the Animals Speak 3. Trusting Lucy: Believing the Incredible 4. Breaking the Spell of Skepticism: Puddleglum versus the Green Witch 5. At Any Rate There's No Humbug Here: Truth and Perspective Part Two - The Tao in Narnia: Morality and the Good Life 6. Worth Dying For: Narnian Lessons on Heroism and Altruism 7. Work, Vocation, and the Good Life 8. The Tao of Narnia 9. Extreme Makeover: Moral Development and the Encounter with Aslan 10. Is It Good to Be Bad? Immoralism in Narnia 11. Narnia and the Moral Imagination 12. Beasts, Heroes and Monsters: Configuring the Moral Imaginary 13. No Longer a Friend: Gender in Narnia Part Three - Further Up and Further In: Exploring the Deeper Nature of Reality 14. Plato in Narnia 15. Different Worlds, Different Bodies: Personal Identity in Narnia 16. Why Eustace Almost Deserved His Name: Lewis's Critique of Modern Secularism 17. Time Keeps on Ticking, Or Does It? The Significance of Time in The Chronicles of Narnia Part Four - The Deepest Magic: Religion and the Transcendent 18. Aslan the Terrible: Painful Encounters with Absolute Goodness 19. Worthy of a Better God: Religious Diversity and Salvation in The Chronicles of Narnia 20. The Atonement in Narnia 21. The Green Witch and the Great Debate: Freeing Narnia from the Spell of the Lewis-Anscombe Legend 22. Some Dogs Go to Heaven: Lewis on Animal Salvation

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dann

    The themes and meaning of C.S. Lewis’ epic fantasy series are explored in The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview. Featuring 22 essays, a variety of authors discuss a number of topics, including moral imagination, gender politics, identity, time relativity, Ransom Theory, and animal immortality. And while the main focus is on the 7 children’s books that comprise the Chronicles, many of Lewis’ other works (The Abolition of Man, Mere Christianity, Miracles, The themes and meaning of C.S. Lewis’ epic fantasy series are explored in The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview. Featuring 22 essays, a variety of authors discuss a number of topics, including moral imagination, gender politics, identity, time relativity, Ransom Theory, and animal immortality. And while the main focus is on the 7 children’s books that comprise the Chronicles, many of Lewis’ other works (The Abolition of Man, Mere Christianity, Miracles, etc.) are included in the discussions to gain a fuller understanding of the views that Lewis held and espoused throughout his writings. Some of the articles are overly complicated, but most of them are well-written and present interesting ideas and perspectives. Wonderfully thought-provoking, The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview is an intriguing look at this most beloved fantasy series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim Gannon

    This turned out to be a real treat. I have always loved the Chronicles of Narnia. I was sitting around Barnes and Noble reading another book and by chance, my eyes fell on this book in the Bargain Books section. I thought it was well worth the 7$. The book is composed of numerous philosophical essays dealing with the ethical and spiritual significance of the Narnia series. They discussed philosopher's from Plato to current ones and their different philosophical views and how they compared with L This turned out to be a real treat. I have always loved the Chronicles of Narnia. I was sitting around Barnes and Noble reading another book and by chance, my eyes fell on this book in the Bargain Books section. I thought it was well worth the 7$. The book is composed of numerous philosophical essays dealing with the ethical and spiritual significance of the Narnia series. They discussed philosopher's from Plato to current ones and their different philosophical views and how they compared with Lewis's views, the author of Narnia. I found it compelling due to all the thoughts and questions the essays brought to light. Being a rather simple reader, it was nice to have my brain stretched and to think about the series at a deeper level.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Although not as good as some of the other "_____ and Philosophy" books I've read, this book was still pretty good. The chapters were repetitive at times (covering similar topics), and some of the claims were a bit dubious in my opinion. That being said, I think the saving grace of this book is that the various authors referenced C.S. Lewis's non-Narnian works to such degree that it was an introduction of C.S. Lewis's essays and books (mainly of an apologetic nature). After reading "The Chronicles Although not as good as some of the other "_____ and Philosophy" books I've read, this book was still pretty good. The chapters were repetitive at times (covering similar topics), and some of the claims were a bit dubious in my opinion. That being said, I think the saving grace of this book is that the various authors referenced C.S. Lewis's non-Narnian works to such degree that it was an introduction of C.S. Lewis's essays and books (mainly of an apologetic nature). After reading "The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy," I feel like adding more of Lewis's writings to my "to-read" shelf.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lynnette

    not a huge fan of this book. some thoughts were insightful. many authors said the same things. but, I also have been reading through many of Lewis's apologetic works so these points were not new to me. I suppose if someone didn't know that much about Lewis's other writings this could be a very informative book. not a huge fan of this book. some thoughts were insightful. many authors said the same things. but, I also have been reading through many of Lewis's apologetic works so these points were not new to me. I suppose if someone didn't know that much about Lewis's other writings this could be a very informative book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Satia

    There are 22 essays in this collection and I only liked one of them. I think that says it all but if you want to read more: http://satia.blogspot.com/2010/07/chr... There are 22 essays in this collection and I only liked one of them. I think that says it all but if you want to read more: http://satia.blogspot.com/2010/07/chr...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Applying philosophy to C.S. Lewis is a little redundant but some of the essays had some really great points and some new ways to think about what Lewis was saying about our world through Narnia. Interesting read especially if you grew up reading the Chronicles.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I wouldn't go as far to say that it was an amazing life changing book, but it really made me look at an old childhood favorite in a new way. Also, I got to learn more trivia about CS Lewis, which added more to my obsession with him and Tolkien. Yay! I wouldn't go as far to say that it was an amazing life changing book, but it really made me look at an old childhood favorite in a new way. Also, I got to learn more trivia about CS Lewis, which added more to my obsession with him and Tolkien. Yay!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    One really good essay on the problem with portrayals of women in the series, several decent or mediocre essays, and a few duds. I'm ready to pass this book on to someone else. One really good essay on the problem with portrayals of women in the series, several decent or mediocre essays, and a few duds. I'm ready to pass this book on to someone else.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Saul Nonato

    once i was seven years is great

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Very good read. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes philosophy and the chronicles of narnia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Overall solid essays. Fun to think with others about this grand series of stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Made me think a little differently about some of the books, especially The Last Battle which was never a favorite of mine.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kori

    Helped me to better appreciate the many philosophical concepts within each of the books, many of which I had never even noticed!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason Ruis

    Portions were helpful and insightful. Others not so much. A lot of concept repetition.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brett Marko

  23. 5 out of 5

    Malak Elhabeb

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sadaf

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Knowles

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zach Burns

  29. 4 out of 5

    Almac

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melody

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