The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis

Akhil Reed Amar, Author . Random $25.95 (657p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6262-1

In what amounts to a love letter to C.S. Lewis, Wheaton English professor Jacobs dutifully traces the development of Lewis's imagination from its childhood roots—when he sought the companionship of books, including fairy tales, adventure stories and the writings of Beatrix Potter—to its mature expression in the Chronicles of Narnia. For many years, he struggled with the meaning and existence of God and the value of Christianity, and Lewis's conversations with fellow members of the literary group called the Inklings, especially Tolkein, led him to a reconversion to Christianity (which he had abandoned in his youth). Lewis's delight in God, according to Jacobs, provides the foundations of both his more apologetic works and the Narnia books. In addition, Lewis developed a "willingness to be enchanted" that marked his fervent love of the poems of Milton, Spenser, Philip Sydney and Tennyson. As Jacob points out, Lewis combines these traits, as well as a desire to be entertained by a good story, in his Narnia books. However, Jacobs's stilted and pedantic prose ("Let us pause for a moment to reflect...") makes for uninspiring reading. Readers would be better advised to turn to Roger Lancelyn Green and Walter Hooper's definitive biography. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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Ebook - 978-1-58836-487-6
Paperback - 655 pages - 978-0-8129-7272-6
Prebound-Glued - 655 pages - 978-0-606-26594-2
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