Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles

Front Cover
John Wiley & Sons, Jun 15, 2007 - Social Science - 256 pages
8 Reviews
Into the Wardrobe

Published in the early 1950s, C. S. Lewis's seven Chronicles of Narnia were proclaimed instant children's classics and have been hailed in The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature as "the most sustained achievement in fantasy for children by a 20th-century author." But how could Lewis—a formidable critic, scholar, and Christian apologist—conjure up the kind of adventures in which generations of children (and adults) take such delight? In this engaging and insightful book, C. S. Lewis expert David C. Downing in-vites readers to join his vivid exploration of the Chronicles of Narnia, offering a detailed look at the enchanting stories themselves and also focusing on the extraordinary intellect and imagination of the man behind the Wardrobe.

Downing presents each Narnia book as its own little wardrobe—each tale an opportunity to discover a visionary world of bustling vitality, sparkling beauty, and spiritual clarity. And Downing's examination of C. S. Lewis's personal life shows how the content of these classic children's books reflects Lewis's love of wonder and story, his affection for animals and homespun things, his shrewd observations about human nature, along with his vast reading, robust humor, theological speculations, medieval scholarship, and arcane linguistic jokes. A fun glossary of odd and invented words will allow readers to speak with Narnian flair, regaling friends and family with unusual words such as cantrips, poltroonery, hastilude, and skirling. This masterful work will appeal to both new and seasoned fans of Narnia, extending the journey beyond Narnia's deceptively simple surface and into its richly textured and unexpected depths.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Into the Wardrobe: CS Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles

User Review  - Cree Cullimore - Goodreads

Absolutely fascinating. A very interesting delve into Lewis' mind and creative process. Highly recommended for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as anyone who is interested in the creative process of well-known authors. Read full review

Review: Into the Wardrobe

User Review  - Joanie - Goodreads

I found this be an entertaining and insightful read. The author included a number of interesting facts about CS Lewis and explained how aspects of his life found their way into his writing of the ... Read full review


Chapter One The Life of CS Lewis
Chapter Two The Genesis of Narnia
Chapter Three The Spiritual Vision of the Narnia Chronicles
Chapter Four Moral Psychology
Chapter Five Classical and Medieval Elements
Chapter Six Whats in a Narnian Name?
Chapter Seven Lewiss Literary Artistry
Appendix Definitions Allusions and Textual Notes
The Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

A Jesuit Off-Broadway
James Martin
Limited preview - 2010

About the author (2007)

David C. Downing is a leading C. S. Lewis expert, award-winning author, and professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His articles about Lewis have appeared in such publications as Christianity Today, Christianity and Literature, Books & Culture, Christian Scholars Review, and numerous other journals. His books include Planets in Peril, about the Space Trilogy; The Most Reluctant Convert, a biography of Lewis that was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of the Year by the American Library Association; and Into the Region of Awe, a study of the mystical elements in Lewis's life and writings.

Bibliographic information