<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> <html lang="en" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <script type="text/javascript" language="JavaScript"> <!--// if (skew > 0) date.setTime(date.getTime() - skew); } function memory() { if (document.comments.cookieme[0].checked == true){ var now = new Date(); fixDate(now); now.setTime(now.getTime() + 365 * 24 * 60 * 60 * 1000); setCookie('gmcmtauth', document.comments.newcommentauthor.value, now,'','greylogs.com',''); setCookie('gmcmtmail', document.comments.newcommentemail.value ,now,'','greylogs.com',''); setCookie('gmcmthome', document.comments.newcommenthomepage.value, now,'','greylogs.com',''); } if (document.comments.cookieme[1].checked == true){ deleteCookie('gmcmtmail','','greylogs.com' ); deleteCookie('gmcmthome','','greylogs.com' ); deleteCookie('gmcmtauth','','greylogs.com' ); } } //--> </script> <title>Further Up and Further In ARCHIVE</title> <style type="text/css"> <!-- body { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000} td { font-size: 13px; line-height: 22px} h1 { font-size: 14px; color: #FFFFFF; line-height: 14px; padding: 0px;} a { color: #6B5705; text-decoration: none} .subject { font-weight: 600; color: #FFFFFF; font-size: 16px} .time { color: #FFFFFF} a:hover { color: #000000; text-decoration: underline} .copy { font-size: 12px; color: #FFFFFF} .sidenav { color: #000000} --> </style> </head> <body bgcolor="#000000" text="#FFFFFF" topmargin="0"> <table width="802" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="center"> <tr> <td> <IMG SRC="http://personal.bgsu.edu/~edwards/aslan.jpg" ALT="lion" width=675 align=center BORDER=3> </td> </tr> <tr> <td bgcolor="#000000"> <table width="680" border="3" cellspacing="6" cellpadding="6" bgcolor="#000000"> <tr> <td bgcolor="#000000" valign="top" width="680"> <h1><font color=orange>Sunday, July 31, 2005</h1><span class="subject">Thinking Aloud of My Movie Moodiness</span><br /></font color> <p> <font size=-2>(Note: This is an excerpt from the Prologue to one of my two news books on Narnia, coming out in September from Tyndale, <I>Not a Tame Lion: The Spiritual World of Narnia</I>)</font size> <p> Our experience of The Chronicles of Narnia is about to be enjoined, if not challenged, by their incarnation in a new medium: the big-budget feature film. The first of what is intended as a series of movies depicting the exploits of the Pevensie children and others in the land of Narnia is about to appear. <p>And such a movie will bring new attention-and certainly a new audience, even a new kind of audience-to The Chronicles that no previous however ambitious marketing campaign could ever have achieved. For more than half a century children and adults of all ages have found their way to Narnia via the written word, ever witnesses to the adventure, wit, humor, and profound spirituality of the works as told by the winsome Mr. Lewis. Now they will have a choice in how to enter Narnia. It is likely that in time the movies will begin to rival in importance and impact the story-telling art, characterization, imagery, and themes found in the original Chronicles, which, of course, were keenly informed by Lewis's Christian imagination. It is certainly possible the new meanings and encompassing visions gleaned from watching the movies will complement and enhance those already experienced in Lewis's written works. On the other hand, it is likely that by their very nature the movies will come to overshadow and overwhelm the reading experience of Narnia-as all movies tend to do-blunting or massaging the essential spiritual vision of Lewis, so that they speak more "universally" yet less "particularly" to the viewer. In other words, those literary premises and spiritual principles that most animated Lewis as he sought to depict them imaginatively within the Narnian landscape could be "lost in translation" as the stories migrate from text to film. <p>We can hope that this is not the case, and no one would be happier than me should the movies do justice to these beloved tales. But I have endeavored in this book to take nothing for granted, making it my goal specifically to orient the willing reader new to The Chronicles (as well as the veteran sojourner there) to what we might call Narnia's spiritual geography, that is, to its ultimately Christian themes, and, most assuredly, to its undeniable center: King Aslan, the Great Lion, Son of the Great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Aslan must again be the one to save Narnia, to rescue it from becoming just one more kingdom swept away in the homogenizing flood of popular culture that jettisons its core convictions and compelling charm. <p>Indeed, this small book's title pays greatest homage to Aslan, in my mind, Lewis's greatest literary creation. "He is not a tame lion," Mr. Beaver intones near the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and later, in Chapter Two of this work, we will explore that statement in some depth within the precincts of the Chronicles. But for now, let me reflect on the relevance of the title to this book's contents as a whole. By titling my work, Not a Tame Lion, I am implying, no, stipulating, that without Aslan the Narnian adventures would have little meaning, lesser value, and certainly no spiritual poignancy or potency. <p>There are books a plenty which feature vagabond children making their entrance and exit through strange and dangerous worlds using their ingenuity or creativity or sheer bravado, learning their lessons and claiming their renown. But Narnia is not a world one simply passes through on the way to somewhere else, storing up experience for the next fantastic journey. Narnia is a spiritual address, a world imbued with ultimate destinies determined by profound personal choices driven by individual allegiances, either to eternal truth or mournfully temporal falsehood. But wait, what do I mean by "spiritual"? <p>Narnia is a "cosmos," an orderly, yet created world that has a discernible beginning, middle, and end. Narnia's ordered existence is willed-rather, sung-into being by Aslan. Under Aslan's rule, there is, if you will, both a "natural order," and a "supernatural" or spiritual order. There is, on the one hand, the day-to-day, the deeds, the thoughts, the outcomes wrought by each individual; on the other hand, there is a meaning and an impact beyond these deeds, thoughts, outcomes that point to Something Else, and, what's more, to Someone Else. Here we discover that we are not our own. Our lives rest in Another. <br> </font color> <h1><font color=orange>Saturday, July 30, 2005</h1><span class="subject">Musings from the Preface </span><br ></font color> <p> <font size=-2>(Note: This is an excerpt from the preface to one of my two news books on Narnia, coming out in September from Broadman and Holman, <I>Further Up and Further In: Understanding The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe</I>)</font size> <p>If a writer is honest, he will confess that his book really has many "authors"-or at least countless unnamed and unnameable influences, some direct, some indirect, some ridiculous, some sublime, and some completely nonliterary. I must acknowledge a semblance of them here. Over the years my understanding of Narnia has been shaped by many friends and readers of C. S. Lewis, none more profoundly than my wife, Joan, who introduced me to The Chronicles soon after we were married. I had already been enamored of Lewis but not of his fiction as such. <p>But Joan has an intuitive sense of what's important and lasting in a book or a life and more than thirty years ago shared her insights with me. For this I will always be indebted to her first. Sweetie, thank you for many hours of quiet walks and deep, reflective conversation on what's real. Though it may seem odd, a significant portion of this book was written while I was in Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa, directing the computer training aspects of a U. S. State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative Grant designed to train Tunisian journalism students in what it means to serve their readers under a democratic, free press regime. At the same time I was away in Tunis, my wife, Joan, was serving in a relief and training mission herself in Rwanda and Burundi, East Africa, equipping widows and abandoned mothers and children in how to sew and weave and earn a living for their families. <p>Somehow reflecting on Joan's servant heart and willingness to take risky journeys and my experience of the earnest and eager efforts of my students in Tunisia have been a real inspiration to me to see Narnia afresh, as we were both "strangers in a strange land," just as Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edmund were when they went through the wardrobe the first time. That strangeness is compelling and hard to preserve, but it is worth preserving. No one has taught me more how about to read Clive Staples Lewis than Lewis himself, and I urge anyone who has come to Professor Lewis through the reading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe immediately to stop what she or he is doing and read everything else (I mean everything) Lewis has written on all topics. This is the best preparation for truly understanding and appreciating Narnia for all that it is worth. <p>Of course, that could be impractical. So let me point the reader especially to Lewis's Surprised by Joy, which provides unwitting but poignant commentary on the underlying themes of The Chronicles; because he has already lived their lives in some fashion, he can provide expert testimony to "reasons for the hope that is in" the Pevensie children during their sojourn in Narnia. The "For Further Reading" bibliography following chapter 6 of <I>Further Up and Further In</I> provides some immediately helpful guidance for those who want more traditional secondary sources for advanced study. There you will find the names of those people most to be entrusted with the Lewis legacy: Lindskoog, Dorsett, Downing, Duriez, Root, Schakel, Hooper, Hinten, King, Ford, Carnell, and Kreeft. Each of these writers-some of whom I count as friends and fellow scholars and some of whom I regard as pedestal-dwelling giants (you decide who you are!)-contributes much to our understanding of who Lewis is, how Narnia came to be, and why we should we rejoice. These writers all exemplify what Lewis said about the New Testament writers in his essay on "Christianity and Literature": "they cared not about Genius, but about Goodness." Their genius comes through <I>anyway. </I><br>

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