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The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set : The Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Hourse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Last BattleMass Market Paperback– 1972
Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.
Let me start by saying that I loved these stories as a child. I read "The Lion, the With and the Wardrobe" in fourth grade as a part of class. I was reluctant to read it and had no interest (school kids are like that) but I was sucked into the story very quickly. I had my parents buy me the boxed set and I believe I ended up reading 5 of the 7 books. I absolutely love this story.
After at least 40 minutes of Googling, I finally found out what the difference between the "adult" version and the regular version is. Apparently the "adult" version includes some essay material about the literature and each book contains a synopsis of information you'd need to know from the other books to read the one you're holding. Other than that, only the packaging is different. The stories all remain the same. I only wish Amazon.com would have provided me this information and saved me the time.
The order in which the Narnia Chronicles should be read and published is a matter of great controversy. In my view, the answer to this question lies in a proper understanding of the deeper level of Narnia. When read on an adult level, the Narnia Chronicles function as a powerful medium used by Lewis to impart powerful spiritual truths about Christianity and theology. But these spiritual truths are conveyed more by Biblical allusions than by rigid allegory. This also has implications for the order of the volumes in this series. The publishers of this edition have elected to follow the chronological order of the series: 1. The Magician's Nephew; 2. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; 3. The Horse and His Boy; 4. Prince Caspian; 5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; 6. The Silver Chair; 7. The Last Battle. The chronological order makes the books more strictly allegorical than they really were intended to be, and gives the impression that they are an extended allegory rather than incidental allusions, an incorrect impression in my view. Despite all the talk about allegory, it seems to me that Lewis is more fond of incorporating Biblical allusions where and when he pleases, rather than working with a strict and rigid allegory that tightly binds the plot. Certainly the central Biblical themes of creation, fall, redemption and consummation are present, and form the broad chronological coat-hanger on which the series rests. But ultimately Lewis does not want us to become obsessed with chronology, but with content. Thus there is something to the vehemence with which so many readers argue that the books must be read in the order in which they were first published, namely: 1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; 2. Prince Caspian; 3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; 4. The Silver Chair; 5.Read more ›
What can I add to the discussion of the Narnia books themselves? They're fantastic, and, as a long-time reader of Lewis's work, all I can say is that it's heartening to see that new generations are continuing to discover how wonderful the Chronicles of Narnia are, just as I did about 20 years ago. It's also great to see how many adults continue to treasure them, just as I do today. The only thing I would say to first-time readers is the same thing that a lot of other reviewers are saying: DON'T READ THE BOOKS IN THE ORDER THAT U.S. PUBLISHERS ARE PUTTING THEM OUT THESE DAYS! Lewis always intended the Narnia books to be published and read in the order in which he wrote them: LWW, PC, VDT, SC, HHB, MN, and LB. It's true that, near the end of his life, Lewis pondered the notion of having the books published and read in chronological order -- but only after an extensive set of internal revisions. As it turned out, Lewis never had the chance to complete those revisions. So, as they stand now, the books really should be read in the original sequence. For one thing, that's the only way for new readers to discover Narnia in the way that Lewis himself discovered it. Since Lewis never got around to his intended rewriting, the overall story unfolds much more meaningfully -- and much more dramatically -- when it's read OUT of order. For instance, part of the enjoyment of reading The Magician's Nephew is realizing just how a land that the reader has already fallen in love with actually came into being; there's an almost archaeological ("oh, NOW I understand") feel to it. If you read MN first, you miss completely that very important -- and very rich -- subtext.Read more ›
(please note that this review concerns only the new publications) The Chronicles of Narnia are perfect books. They are wonderful for children and adults, and can be read again and again. C. S. Lewis was a brilliant author and theologian, and was competent in what he was doing. I have been reading these books since I was young enough to pick up a book, and I was horrified when I found out they were reprinting them in chronological order! Why have the publishers decided to tamper with the order? reading these books in chronological order spoils all of the surprise and magic out of the first visit to Narnia (in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe), because we already know what's going on. You're not supposed to know about the lightpole or who the professor is yet! Things don't always need to be put in chronological order. If you're going to read them, please read them in the correct order: 1) The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, 2) Prince Caspian, 3)The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 4) The Silver Chair, 5) The Horse and His Boy, 6) The Magician's Nephew, and 7) The Last Battle