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The Narnia Code: C. S. Lewis and the Secret of the Seven Heavens Paperback – November 1, 2010
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Michael Ward has established himself not only as the foremost living Lewis scholar, but also as a brilliant writer. (Times Literary Supplement)
From the Back Cover
Unlock the secret to Narnia that has mystified readers for over half a century . . .
Millions of people have been captivated by C. S. Lewis’s classic Chronicles of Narnia―but some questions have never been successfully answered. Why are there seven books? Why are only three of them obvious biblical allegories? Does the series lack coherence, as Lewis’s critics (and even some of his friends) claimed? Many have attempted to discover the organizing key― the “secret code”―of the series, but the structure of Narnia’s symbolism has remained a mystery.
In The Narnia Code, Michael Ward presents an astonishing literary discovery. Drawing on the whole range of Lewis’s writings, Ward reveals the single subject that provides the link between all seven novels. He explains how Lewis structured the series, why he kept the code secret, and what it shows about his understanding of the universe and the Christian faith.
Originally published as the groundbreaking scholarly work Planet Narnia, this accessible adaptation holds the key to reading the Chronicles and understanding Lewis in a whole new way.
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I was impressed as almost every page has a footnote that could carry you off to a new direction. It is hard to be objective when you can see the C.S. Lewis world that Michael Ward paints. I had to keep a bible handy just to be sure of the context of the quotes that Michael Ward was using to make his point.
The focus of the book its self cannot really be summed up in a few well chosen statements. However Michael Ward tries to paint the picture of a pre-Copernican view of the heavens and the significant of stars. He shows how this is incorporated in the Narnia books as is the music of the spheres.
I really do not want to go into too much detail as that is why you will want to read the book. For people that have already read the book I do not need to rehash. My only hope is that I have mentioned enough to make you curious enough to want this book as it will not only serve the purpose of a better understanding of Narnia but also of our selves.
Though his insights are just a few years old and the field of Lewis studies is large and growing, Ward's view of the Narniad seems poised to sweep the field. Alan Jacobs, author of THE NARNIAN, treats Ward's view as established fact in the new Cambridge Companion to Lewis -- high and serious praise indeed.
If you find PLANET NARNIA, which I believe is essentially his PhD dissertation, daunting, this is the book for you. It is masterful; virtually every page brings a gasp of "Oh, how clever!"; and, for adult readers for whom Narnia is a familiar country, it offers an experience close to seeing Narnia again for the first time.