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A Field Guide to Narnia Paperback – June 2, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"Since the books are now classics and since their creator has become one of the most pondered-over, written-about, analyzed and deconstructed authors of the twentieth century, the more curious reader will find it helpful and instructive to have a reliable guide on hand when exploring the lands that lie "between the lamp-post and the great castle of Cair Paravel on the eastern sea. "One could not wish for a better traveling companion than a preeminent commentator such as Colin Duriez, who combines a richly mined knowledge--sharply focused by wisdom and understanding--of both the world and the worlds of C. S. Lewis, and shares it with a passionate but clear-sighted enthusiasm that is as effortless as it is authoritative. "So before you step into that wardrobe (and remember, 'as every sensible person does, that you should never, never shut yourself in a wardrobe'), pop A Field Guide to Narnia in your pocket and you will undoubtedly see that land with new eyes, perhaps even respond to it with a new heart." (Brian Sibley, author of C. S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands)

"Colin Duriez in his Field Guide to Narnia provides profound insight into the brilliant mind and prolific writings of C. S. Lewis. By carefully interweaving the life experiences of Lewis with an analysis of his vast body of scholarly and popular works--especially his Chronicles of Narnia--Mr. Duriez provides the reader with new understanding and a strong motivation to read or reread this always fascinating Oxford Don." (Dr. Armand Nicholi, Jr., author of The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life)

From the Author

IVP: Describe your first experience with the Chronicles of Narnia.

Colin Duriez: I was a young adult when I discovered Lewis and started reading the Chronicles not long after discovering C. S. Lewis's writings. As soon as I followed Lucy into the snowy woods I was enchanted and quickly read the series. I immediately sensed the deeper meanings below the surface but enjoyed the stories as brilliantly told stories. IVP: What inspired you to write A Field Guide to Narnia?

Duriez: In the past I had written several books on Lewis or his friends, especially J. R. R. Tolkien. Increasingly it dawned on me that The Chronicles are perhaps Lewis's greatest achievements, likely still to be read in 50 or 100 years. Though written for children, they embody perhaps more than any other of his books the whole Lewis--the scholar as well as the storyteller. They are an outstanding example of an imaginative and gripping portrayal of Christian theology, in a league with John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (June 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830832076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830832071
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colin Duriez is based in Keswick in north-west England and writes books, edits and lectures. He has appeared as a commentator on extended version film DVDs of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, the 'Royal' 4 DVD set of Walden/Disney's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the Sony DVD Ringers about Tolkien fandom and the impact of Tolkien on popular culture. He has also participated in documentaries on PBS and the BBC. He is also a part-time tutor at Lancaster University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By C. Catherwood on March 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Colin Duriez is one of the world's leading experts on both Lewis and Tolkien - people who have watched the extended DVDs of Lord of the Rings will recognise his Hobbit style features instantly. Now he has written THE essential field guide to Narnia, CS Lewis's wonderful Christian allegory and novel for children, and in plenty of time for the Disney film coming out in December. This makes it both reliable and essential reading for any Lewis buff, and also the ideal gift for anyone you know who becomes interested in Lewis after seeing the movie this Christmas (2005) and beyond. Make sure your church bookstall has 20 copies, and make sure too that you give this essential reading to your friends and family at Christmas. You will not get a better guide, both in terms of spiritual content and literary knowledge, than this splendid book by Colin Duriez. He has pulled off yet another amazing book to add to the many other definitive works on Tolkien and Lewis that he has written already. Christopher Catherwood (author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ), son of one of CS Lewis's pupils at Oxford and great-nephew of an Oxford friend and contemporary of Lewis.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Christian Book Previews on July 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
In A Field Guide to Narnia, Colin Duriez digs into the worldviews, myths, and people who played important roles in C. S. Lewis' creation of Narnia. This scholarly work is written for adults, but the explanations don't remove the magic of the Chronicles of Narnia.

Beginning with a short biography of Lewis' life, Duriez continues with the books from various periods that influenced Narnia's unique attributes. He points out the parallels between the Chronicles and Christianity, followed by concepts borrowed from other worldviews. The chapter titled "Literary Features of the Chronicles" discusses genre, perception, and the books' sometimes visible but never intruding narrator. The first section of the book ends by further expounding on the themes, concepts, and images found in Lewis' books.

Part Two is an encyclopedia for the Chronicles, giving a brief overview of each book, a history of Narnia (complete with a timeline), and a chapter on its geography. Then Duriez shows Lewis' other writings in the context of Narnia, and the people who influenced Lewis' life and works. Part Three, a dictionary, covers Narnia from Adam to Zardeenah. Extensive notes, a chronology of Lewis, and a detailed bibliography end the book.

Though repetitive in places, A Field Guide to Narnia adds depth to the Chronicles without reducing them to theological tomes or classics merely to be analyzed. Without a hint of overt suggestion, Duriez makes you long to read the Chronicles once more. -- Katie Hart, Christian Book
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By AK on February 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
*** Millions of people of all ages have read and loved the Chronicles of Narnia. For the most part, they comprehended the message- but there are spots that leave most of us guessing as to what the intent was. It is clear that the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe allegorizes the Gospels; the Last Battle retells Revelation, and the Magician's Nephew refer to the beginning of Genesis. However, one is left scratching one's head when trying to pin down what events the Silver Chair lines up with or the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In short, you need a guidebook, and this fills the bill. Illuminating what the books refer to and how they fit not only into Christian theology, but also how they relate to Lewis' own life, the author helps readers appreciate the depth and scope of one of the great classics in fantasy literature. ***
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