- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2005
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
An indispensable reference for readers to familiarize themselves with a great book. -- InFuze magazine, Matt Winslow
In true CSI fashion...Brown dusts for fingerprints and shines his ultraviolet light into every nook and cranny of Narnia. -- HollywoodJesus.com, Kevin Miller
This book often reads like an engaging running commentary rather than a mere collection of essays. Highly recommended. -- Library Journal, November 15, 2005
Well-written and readable, even for those to whom literary analysis brings back horrific memories of freshman English classes. -- BookPage, November 1, 2005
From the Back Cover
Discover the land of Narnia-where the everyday and the mystical mingle
Do you know all there is to know about this land and its creator?
- Why does the wardrobe lead to Narnia only at specific moments?
- Were the children modeled after any particular people in C. S. Lewis's life?
- Why did Lewis choose the animals he did, and why did he allow them the ability to talk?
Such questions are explored in this riveting analysis of C. S. Lewis's magical world. Tracing through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe chapter by chapter, Devin Brown explores fascinating symbols, hidden meanings, and easily missed details that swirl in and around Lewis's famous story.
Whether you're a book or movie lover-or both-Inside Narnia will heighten your understanding of a world where the real and imaginary come together.
"One can hardly imagine a more thoroughgoing, encyclopedic treatment of the first of the Narnia Chronicles."--Bruce Edwards, professor of English, Bowling Green State University
"Devin Brown offers readers a detailed and delightful look at what influenced Lewis's writing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe-including borrowings, parallels, and allusions. Inside Narnia should be on the shelf of all serious devotees of the Chronicles of Narnia."--Don W. King, author, C. S. Lewis, Poet
"Longtime fans of the Chronicles as well as newcomers to the series will find this book both insightful and informative."--Jerry Walls, author, C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
But I must admit, this book is worth more than I paid for it. Devin Brown takes the reader through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, offering fascinating information about the influences on Lewis' thought. He delves into the biblical parallels, inconsistencies between Narnia books, and he often writes about Lewis' own philosophy of writing for children.
Inside Narnia is a must-have for all serious Narnia fans. Brown's research reinforced the reasons why I fell in love with Narnia as a child and why the fantasy world continues to intrigue me today. If you choose one Narnia companion book out of the Bargain bin, make sure it's this one.
Like any good scholar, Devin Brown begins his work by addressing why the work is even needed.
"The strongest reason for any new work must be that it
(1) takes an approach not taken before.
Prof. Brown's focus is on providing a literary analysis of TLWW.
Since he is an English professor at Asbury College in Kentucky, my guess is that his personal motivation for writing this book was for use in one of his classes and that some of his classroom notes may have made their way into the original outline for "Inside Narnia". In my opinion, use of a developing non-fiction manuscript in a classroom is great--college students will be only too glad to point out inconsistencies and ask about passages they find bewildering.
Prof. Brown states that the other reason for a new work in non-fiction involves
(2) (covering) ground which has not been covered.
He explains, "I offer a wide selection of comments and opinions from other scholars, here for the first time collected in a single work." To that, I would add that the reader also benefits from Prof. Brown's own comments and opinions. I suspect that some material quoted directly from C. S. Lewis's writings may also be making its first appearance in a scholarly work.
Not long after I started "Inside Narnia", I found myself skimming past the (exhaustive) citations without thinking about them. He might not like hearing this but Prof. Brown's clear prose allowed me to ignore all of his meticulous bibliographic work, and just enjoy.
His literary analysis is fascinating. I've read Lewis's entire "Chronicles of Narnia" so many times I've lost count but the author surprised me repeatedly with pointers to Lewis's literary techniques and new perspectives on plot and description I never noticed before. He also surprised me with the whole Maugrim = Fenris Ulf discussion! Maugrim? Who's that? I have an old copy of TLWW and have never bought another so the wolf villain has always been Fenris Ulf to me.
Brown reveals the structure of individual scenes in such evocative detail that you'll likely close his book either feeling like you just finished rereading Lewis's TLWW or else with the overwhelming desire to do so. When I reached the end of Prof. Brown's study, I wanted to reread "Prince Caspian" but then I'm weird.
(If you haven't read TLWW yet, well first, you should! Second, buy this book at the same time as TLWW but read it afterwards. It'll make a lot more sense.)
CSL's Use of Language (literary technique)
Prof. Brown discusses and analyzes C S Lewis's use of a variety of literary techniques and language in TLWW, as each example appears in the chapters. I was fascinated by his analysis of Lewis's techniques because, frankly, I have been enjoying their "effects" on me as a reader without being aware of how Lewis created them.
Here's a small sample of literary techniques discussed:
gradualness of description built from many concrete details; suggesting rather than explaining to create a sense of mystery; the "interlace" of plot threads; the use of weather as a form of provenance & as a way to set up future plot events; the dream motif; building tension via description; description via senses other than sight; ending chapters one step into the action of the following chapter.
He also analyzes Lewis's characterization of Aslan vs. that of the witch, and his characterization of each of the Pevensie children.
Throughout, he takes care to discuss Lewis's missteps as well as his successes. (example: Where did Tumnus go?)
CSL's Literary, Cultural & Personal Experience
As a indefatigable Lewis scholar and true Lewis fan, Prof. Brown knows about as much about Lewis's life and literary and cultural influences as anyone can hope to, decades after the author's death.
He takes pains to describe the rich combination of traditions Lewis used to people Narnia, and provides citations bringing to life Tolkien's strong objections to what he was doing. Some of those Inklings meetings must have been really lively! In my opinion, and with all due respect to Tolkien and his fabulous work, combinations like Brown's example of dwarves & fauns aren't jarring today although I can see where it would have been to scholars of mythology like Tolkien. For better or worse... Scratch that. For worse, mythological beings now seep into modern culture in distorted forms or not at all.
Even a literary analysis of TLWW has to take into account Lewis's faith to be complete. "Inside Narnia" Ch. 14, 15 & part of 16 are more Christology than literary analysis because Lewis's plot focuses on Aslan's death and return to life.
In other chapters, Prof. Brown highlights passages that hint at Lewis's "longing" from childhood (see "Surprised by Joy") and the manner in which Lewis portrays the Numinous. Brown spends some time recounting via citations how Lewis agreed with Chesterton about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and how he used this in TLWW. (After reading his YA "Not Exactly Normal" if Brown -hadn't- mentioned this, I would have been very confused.)
I'm anticipating the second in the series which will be a literary analysis of Lewis's "Prince Caspian". I can't say that I agree with everything that Prof. Brown has written here--I dislike the first person narrator--but I have confidence in Brown's scholarship and I'm sure it's clear by now that I really enjoyed this book.
Brown begins the book just where he should: with a rationale for the book's existence. There are, after all, many similar titles available. He replies that the strongest reason for any new work must be that it first takes an approach not taken before and then must cover ground that has not been covered before. He does both of these. His approach to the story is in the first place literary rather than primarily devotional. He moves through the book chapter-by-chapter, providing literary analysis and supplying "a good deal of supplemental information from Lewis's life and other writings." He also offers comments and opinions from a wide variety of other scholars. In many ways the book is a running commentary rather than a collection of essays. "My claim is this: although The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe can be simply read and enjoyed by a child, it can also be read seriously by adults because it is a work rich with meaning. Some of this meaning will be discovered simply by spending time with the text and paying close attention to what Lewis has written. Further meaning will be seen by drawing connections--connections not only to other passages within the novel but also to other works by Lewis, to the events of Lewis's life, and to the world of other writers who influenced Lewis. ... I contend that this twofold approach--first, a careful reading and the second, adding these kinds of connections--will result in greater enjoyment of an already enjoyable book."
Because this book is primarily a literary analysis, it does not contain a great deal of discussion about the story's religious elements. There are many other books that look at the story from that angle. Devin focuses instead on language, on consistencies and inconsistencies in this story and Lewis's other writings, and on the life experiences that stand behind the story. I really felt, as I read Inside Narnia, that the author was unlocking a great deal of the story to me.
Where Brown does deal with religious elements, he typically does so in a manner that is fair even if not thorough. He is careful to point out that this story is not meant to be an allegory for the story of the Bible. He writes "No topic surrounding the Narnia stories has been so misunderstood or has had so much written about it as the question of whether they are allegory." He ultimately turns to Lewis who affirms that the books actually stem from this kind of thought: "Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, because a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen." While there are certainly obvious parallels between the witness of Scripture and the story told in the Narnia books, they are not and were not meant to be true allegory. This means that we should not go looking too deeply in our quest to find religious significant under every rock and in every crevice in Narnia.
Interestingly, this book made me realize what it is about Lewis's world that kept me from falling in love with it as I did with Tolkien's Middle Earth. I think the real difference is in the completeness of the world. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe we see a world that very obviously has not been thought through to the extent that Middle Earth has been. Narnia has many clear and obvious flaws. Some of these were reconciled in further books, but many were just left unreconciled. There is much about Lewis's world that just doesn't make a lot of sense. I can see now that this kept me from believing the world as I did with Middle Earth.
All-in-all, Inside Narnia was a good and valuable read and one I enjoyed a great deal. It put to rest the haunting memories of high school level literary analysis that seemed to award not truth but originality in dissecting stories we knew nothing about written by authors we had never heard of. This book, on the other hand, represents the work of a man who has studied both the author and his work. It opens up the story and allows us to see what we certainly would not otherwise know. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.