Tales Before Narnia: The Roots of Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction

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Douglas Allen Anderson
Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 2008 - Fiction - 339 pages
9 Reviews
In his acclaimed collection Tales Before Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson illuminated the sources, inspirations, and influences that fired J.R.R. Tolkien’s genius. Now Anderson turns his attention to Tolkien’s colleague and friend C. S. Lewis, whose influence on modern fantasy, through his beloved Narnia books, is second only to Tolkien’s own.

In many ways, Lewis’s influence has been even wider than Tolkien’s. For in addition to the Narnia series, Lewis wrote groundbreaking works of science fiction, urban fantasy, and religious allegory, and he came to be regarded as among the most important Christian writers of the twentieth century. It will come as no surprise, then, that such a wide-ranging talent drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Here are twenty of the tributaries that fed Lewis’s unique talent, among them:

“The Wood That Time Forgot: The Enchanted Wood,” taken from a never-before-published fantasy by Lewis’s biographer and friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, that directly inspired The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; E. Nesbit’s charming “The Aunt and Amabel,” in which a young girl enters another world by means of a wardrobe; “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, featuring the abduction of a young boy by a woman as cruel as she is beautiful; and many more, including works by Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, G. K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald, of whom Lewis would write, “I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master.”

Full of fascinating insights into Lewis’s life and fiction, Tales Before Narnia is the kind of book that will be treasured by children and adults alike and passed down lovingly from generation to generation.

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Review: Tales Before Narnia: The Roots of Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction

User Review  - Amy - Goodreads

I found one or two of the selections to be so boring that I couldn't finish them, but I comforted myself with the thought that the author wrote that CS Lewis himself didn't particularly care for those ... Read full review

Review: Tales Before Narnia: The Roots of Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction

User Review  - Kendell - Goodreads

I loved this collection of stories written by friends or authors that inspired CS Lewis. My favorites include: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, The Magic Mirror by George MacDonald, Undine ... Read full review


Tegners Drapa by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Aunt and Amabel by E Nesbit
A Tale in Seven Stories by Hans Christian Andersen

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About the author (2008)

Douglas A. Anderson, a leading American Tolkien scholar, is acknowledged as the worldwide expert on the textual history of The Hobbit. He has contributed the text notes for all Houghton Mifflin Tolkien editions for more than a decade. He is also a bookseller, formerly in Ithaca, New York, now in northern Indiana.

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