Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds (Google eBook)

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University of Missouri Press, Dec 1, 2002 - Art - 232 pages
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Imagination has long been regarded as central to C. S. Lewis's life and to his creative and critical works, but this is the first study to provide a thorough analysis of his theory of imagination, including the different ways he used the word and how those uses relate to each other. Peter Schakel begins by concentrating on the way reading or engaging with the other arts is an imaginative activity. He focuses on three books in which imagination is the central theme--Surprised by Joy, An Experiment in Criticism, and The Discarded Image--and shows the important role of imagination in Lewis's theory of education.

He then examines imagination and reading in Lewis's fiction, concentrating specifically on the Chronicles of Narnia, the most imaginative of his works. He looks at how the imaginative experience of reading the Chronicles is affected by the physical texture of the books, the illustrations, revisions of the texts, the order in which the books are read, and their narrative "voice," the "storyteller" who becomes almost a character in the stories.

Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis also explores Lewis's ideas about imagination in the nonliterary arts. Although Lewis regarded engagement with the arts as essential to a well- rounded and satisfying life, critics of his work and even biographers have given little attention to this aspect of his life. Schakel reviews the place of music, dance, art, and architecture in Lewis's life, the ways in which he uses them as content in his poems and stories, and how he develops some of the deepest, most significant themes of his stories through them.

Schakel concludes by analyzing the uses and abuses of imagination. He looks first at "moral imagination." Although Lewis did not use this term, Schakel shows how Lewis developed the concept in That Hideous Strength and The Abolition of Man long before it became popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. While readers often concentrate on the Christian dimension of Lewis's works, equally or more important to him was their moral dimension.

Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis will appeal to students and teachers of both children's literature and twentieth-century British writers. It will also be of value to readers who wish to compare Lewis's creations with more recent imaginative works such as the Harry Potter series.

  

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Contents

Feeding the Imagination
xi
II
xiii
III
1
IV
23
V
40
VI
53
VII
70
VIII
89
IX
111
X
137
XI
163
XII
189
XIII
193
XIV
205
Copyright

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Page 10 - Scriptures they are the living educts of the imagination ; of that reconciling and mediatory power, which incorporating the reason in images of the sense, and organizing (as it were) the flux of the senses by the permanence and self-circling energies of the reason, gives birth to a system of symbols, harmonious in themselves, and consubstantial with the truths of which they are the conductors.
Page 12 - All my seven Narnian books, and my three science fiction books, began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.

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About the author (2002)

Peter J. Schakel is Peter C. and Emajean Cook Professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He is the author, editor, or coeditor of numerous books, including four previous volumes on C. S. Lewis.†

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