The Chronicles of Narnia
Author : C. S. Lewis
Format : 7 Paperback books in Display Case
Condition : New
Dimensions : each book, 19cm x 12cm x 1.5cm, case, 19cm x 12cm x 12cm
About The Books
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed by the end of March 1949 and published by Geoffrey Bles in London on 16 October 1950, tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke's house that leads to the magical land of Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan, a talking lion, save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the land of Narnia for a century of perpetual winter. The children become kings and queens of this new-found land and establish the Golden Age of Narnia, leaving a legacy to be rediscovered in later books.
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
Completed after Christmas, 1949 and published on 15 October 1951, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children's second trip to Narnia. They are drawn back by the power of Susan's horn, blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in his hour of need. Narnia as they knew it is no more. Their castle is in ruins and all the dryads have retreated so far within themselves that only Aslan's magic can wake them. Caspian has fled into the woods to escape his uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The children set out once again to save Narnia.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
Written between January and February 1950 and published on 15 September 1952, The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ sees Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian's voyage on the ship Dawn Treader to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan's country at the end of the world.
The Silver Chair (1953)
Completed at the beginning of March 1951 and published 7 September 1953, The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book without the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four signs to aid in the search for Prince Rilian, Caspian's son, who disappeared after setting out ten years earlier to avenge his mother's death. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian.
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
Begun in March and completed at the end of July 1950, The Horse and His Boy was published on 6 September 1954. The story takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A talking horse called Bree and a young boy named Shasta, both of whom are in bondage in the country of Calormen, are the protagonists. By chance, they meet and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. Along the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who are also fleeing to Narnia.
The Magician's Nephew (1955)
Completed in February 1954 and published by Bodley Head in London on 2 May 1955, the prequel The Magician's Nephew brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into different worlds by experimenting with magic rings made by Digory's uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about the world are answered as a result.
The Last Battle (1956)
Completed in March 1953 and published 4 September 1956, The Last Battle chronicles the end of the world of Narnia. Jill and Eustace return to save Narnia from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle, a donkey, into impersonating the lion Aslan, precipitating a showdown between the Calormenes and King Tirian.
About The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia's seven books have been in continuous publication since 1956, selling over 100 million copies in 47 languages including non-Roman scripts and Braille. The books were first published in the United Kingdom by Geoffrey Bles, with the first edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe released in London on 16 October 1950. Although three more books, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Horse and His Boy, were already complete, they were not released at the time.
In the United States, the publication rights were first owned by Macmillan Publishers, and later by HarperCollins. The two issued both hard and paperback editions of the series during their tenure as publishers while at the same time Scholastic, Inc. produced paperback versions for sale primarily through direct mail order, book clubs, and book fairs. Harper Collins also published several one-volume collected editions containing the full text of the series. As noted below (see Reading Order), the first American publisher, Macmillan, numbered the books in publication sequence, but when Harper Collins won the rights in 1994, at the suggestion of Lewis' stepson they used the series' internal chronological order. Scholastic switched the numbering of its paperback editions in 1994 to mirror Harper Collins'.
Fans of the series often have strong opinions over the order in which the books should be read. The issue revolves around the placement of The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy in the series. Both are set significantly earlier in the story of Narnia than their publication order and fall somewhat outside the main story arc connecting the others. The reading order of the other five books is not disputed.
|The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
||The Magician's Nephew
||The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
|The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
||The Horse and His Boy
|The Silver Chair
|The Horse and His Boy
||The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
|The Magician's Nephew
||The Silver Chair
|The Last Battle
||The Last Battle
The books were not numbered until the first American publisher, Macmillan, enumerated them according to their original publication order. When Harper Collins took over the series rights in 1994, this numbering was revised to use internal chronological order at the suggestion of Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham. To make the case for his suggested order, Gresham quoted Lewis' 1957 reply to a letter from an American fan who was having an argument with his mother about the order:
I think I agree with your [chronological] order for reading the books more than with your mother's. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn't think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last, but I found I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them. I’m not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in which they were published.
In the 2005 Harper Collins adult editions of the books, the publisher cites this letter to assert Lewis' preference for the numbering they adopted by including this notice on the copyright page:
Although The Magician's Nephew was written several years after C. S. Lewis first began The Chronicles of Narnia, he wanted it to be read as the first book in the series. Harper Collins is happy to present these books in the order which Professor Lewis preferred.
Most scholars disagree with Harper Collins' decision and consider their chronological order to be the least faithful to Lewis' intentions. Scholars and readers who appreciate the original order believe that Lewis was simply being gracious to his youthful correspondent and that he could have changed the books' order in his lifetime had he so desired. They maintain that much of the magic of Narnia comes from the way the world is gradually presented in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. These academics believe that the mysterious wardrobe, as a narrative device, is a much better introduction to Narnia than The Magician's Nephew — where the word "Narnia" appears in the first paragraph as something already familiar to the reader. Moreover, they say, it is clear from the texts themselves that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was intended to be read first. When Aslan is first mentioned in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for example, the narrator says that "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do" — which is nonsensical if one has already read The Magician's Nephew. Other similar textual examples are also cited.
Doris Meyer, author of C.S. Lewis in Context and Bareface: A guide to C.S. Lewis points out that rearranging the stories chronologically "lessens the impact of the individual stories" and "obscures the literary structures as a whole". Peter Schakel devotes an entire chapter to this topic in his book Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds, and in Reading with the Heart: The Way into Narnia he writes:
The only reason to read The Magician's Nephew first [...] is for the chronological order of events, and that, as every story teller knows, is quite unimportant as a reason. Often the early events in a sequence have a greater impact or effect as a flashback, told after later events which provide background and establish perspective. So it is [ ...] with the Chronicles. The artistry, the archetypes, and the pattern of Christian thought all make it preferable to read the books in the order of their publication.
About C. S. Lewis
CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. His major contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown and acclaim. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, The Four Loves, The Screwtape Letters, and Mere Christianity.
C. S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on November 29, 1898, to Albert J. Lewis and Florence Augusta Hamilton Lewis. Throughout his life, Lewis was known to his family and friends as "Jack"—a nickname he coined for himself at the age of four after the beloved neighborhood dog Jacksie died. Lewis had one brother, Warren Hamilton Lewis (1895–1973). Lewis's mother died of cancer in 1908 when he was just nine years old.
In 1910, Lewis became a boarding student at Campbell College in Belfast, just one mile from his home, but withdrew one year later. In 1913, Lewis enrolled at Malvern College where he remained for one year. It was there that, at age fifteen, he became an atheist, abandoning the Christian faith of his childhood. From Malvern, he went into private tutoring under William T. Kirkpatrick, "The Great Knock," who had also been his father's tutor.
Lewis went on to receive a scholarship to University College, Oxford, in 1916. Lewis took a hiatus from study after the outbreak of WWI, enlisting in the British Army in 1917. On April 15, 1918, Lewis was wounded in the Battle of Arras and was discharged a little more than a year later in December 1919.
While in the army, Lewis became close friends with his roommate Paddy Moore. Moore was killed in battle in 1918. After Lewis was discharged, he followed through with a promise to his friend to look after Moore's family. Lewis moved in with Paddy's mother, Jane Moore, and her daughter, Maureen, in 1920. The three of them eventually moved into "The Kilns," which they purchased jointly along with Lewis's older brother, Warren.
On May 20, 1925, Lewis was appointed Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University, where he served for twenty-nine years until 1954.
During his time at Oxford, Lewis went from being an atheist to being one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century; 1931 marks the year of Lewis's conversion to Christianity. He became a member of the Church of England. Lewis cites his friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien, as well as the writings of the converted G. K. Chesterton, as influencing his conversion.
Also while at Oxford, Lewis was the core member of the now famous literary group "The Inklings." This group was an informal twice-weekly gathering of friends which included Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams, Dr. Robert Havard, Owen Barfield, and Nevill Coghill, among others. The meetings took place on Mondays and Thursdays. Monday meetings were held at a handful of local pubs, including The Eagle and Child, known to locals as The Bird and Baby and The Lamb and Flag. Thursday meetings were held in Jack's rooms.
Lewis was married late in life at age fifty-eight to Joy Davidman Gresham, an American writer fifteen years his junior. They married in 1956, two years after Lewis accepted the chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge, where he finished out his career.
After a four-year fight with bone cancer, Joy passed away in 1960. Lewis continued to care for her two sons, Douglas and David Gresham.
C. S. Lewis died at his home "The Kilns" on November 22, 1963. His grave is in the yard of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, Oxford. Warren Lewis died on Monday, April 9, 1973. Their names are on a single stone bearing the inscription "Men must endure their going hence."
The Chronicles of Narnia