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"Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward
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Author:  p.falk [ Sun Aug 21, 2022 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  "Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward

Simply fascinating.
Lewis was enthralled by the beauty of the medieval conception of the cosmos... the "Heavens" instead of "Space". Interesting side note about how Milton in his work bridges the gap between the notion of the Heavens and that of Space.

Ward points out that Lewis didn't think that the factual incorrectness of something (whether that be paganism or the Ptolemaic conception of the cosmos) invalidated the beauty of it.

Ward makes that discovery that far from the Narnia series being a hodge-podge of imagery crammed into a story (as Tolkien felt about The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) that each seven books is an individual representation of the seven 'planets' (sun and moon) in the Ptolemaic cosmos.

"Jupiter: The Bringer of Jollity". Lewis grew weary of the saturnine influences that had overcome many of his contemporaries: Owen, Sassoon, Eliot. He wanted to remind his age of the importance of the Jovial influence of Jupiter. St Nick isn't crammed into The Lion, The Witch... for hodge-podge purposes but because he is symbolic of joy, festal celebrations.

Other planets exert their influences over other books.
As Ward was starting to realize this hidden theme he came across an old manuscript of "The Silver Chair" where the big fella buried under the ground, sleeping, isn't named "Father Time" but "Saturn". And his influence is primarily "felt" in The Last Battle when he snuffs out the sun. This naming change further supported Ward's hypothesis.

Ward also ties in the Space Trilogy as being an earlier attempt at showing the planetary influences with Jupiter having a primary seat.
From the book:
It has not before been noted by critics of That Hideous Strength that Ransom has by this stage in the trilogy turned into a human version of Jupiter. Although 'Ransom isn't the king of this country or trying to become king' he is unmistakably a king of a kind. He is likened to Solomon, Arthur, and to the King in MacDonald's The Princess and Curdie, he is seated in a 'throne room'; and he longs to return to the "House of Kings" where he will join 'Melchisedec the King.' ....

As if this complex web of Jovial-kingly-priestly-Christological imagery were not sufficient, we are told that Ransom's name has changed so that he is now known as Mr Fisher-King. In Arthurian romance the Fisher King was a king encountered during the quest for the Holy Grail in some versions of the story he is identified with the Wounded King Pelles. Ransom's own woundedness is mentioned numerous times.... In his priestly-kingly capacity, Ransom acts as a wounded healer. His wound is in his foot (an allusion to the messianic text, Gen 3:15)

I can't quote the whole book. But the themes are spellbinding.

Author:  GKC [ Thu Aug 25, 2022 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward

I have it.

Haven't read it all.

I also have Downing's PLANETS IN PERIL: A CRITICAL STUDY OF C.S. LEWIS'S RANSOM TRILOGY. Haven't finished it either. I should.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Fri Aug 26, 2022 3:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward

The part where the ship hits the iceberg is the best.

Author:  GKC [ Sat Aug 27, 2022 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward

Well, alright then.

I'm back to reading it. No iceberg so far. Only the 3rd nonfiction book I've read in over 7 months. When I finish it. Fiction books read, same period, around 80+.

Author:  p.falk [ Sun Sep 18, 2022 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Planet Narnia" - Michael Ward

Ward’s contention is that the Narnia series was informed by Lewis’s Socratic debate on his book Miracles as well as the symbolism of the spheres in the Ptolemaic cosmos…. Each of the 7 planets providing the atmosphere from each one of the 7 books.

From the book:
By casting Miracles and the planets into the genre of the romance he deliberately circumvented conscious intellectual apprehension, and that was all to do the good, for “an influence which cannot evade our consciousness will not go very deep.”

Is this he was following his master, George MacDonald, who wrote: “it is not the things we see the most clearly that influence us the most powerfully.”

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