The Narnia Chronicles by renowned Oxbridge scholar C. S. Lewis have been delighting adults as well as children ever since they first appeared. The novels are often studied as Christian allegories, but serious scholars have long searched for an organizing key to the seven books. We will read the novels that constitute the Chronicles for the sheer pleasure they afford us as wonderful examples of masterful storytelling, but we'll also consider a recent study that offers a key to their organizing principle: Lewis's interest in medieval cosmology, with its seven heavenly bodies—the Sun, the Moon, and the five visible planets, with their mythological associations and the power they were thought to exert over humans. From BBC series to Hollywood movies, Narnia continues to provide artistic inspiration, as shown by film clips we'll view in class. As we read, we will also consider whether accusations of Lewis's misogyny and racism are justified. Lecture (plus Questions); Facilitated Discussion; Viewing Videos.
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