1. BBC Documentary, The Narnia Code:
The BBC is producing the new documentary by Norman Stone, The Narnia Code, based on the seminal book by Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis (Oxford University Press) for airing at Easter 2009. Dr. Ward and the book were featured at the C.S. Lewis Society of California's special screening of the recent film, Prince Caspian, on May 17, 2008, at San Francisco's Metreon. Stone won a BAFTA and an Emmy for his 1984 BBC production of C. S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands.
"Secret theme behind Narnia Chronicles is based upon the stars, says new research: The hidden theme behind C. S. Lewis' Narnia books has finally been uncovered, according to a BBC documentary," by Alastair Jamieson (London Telegraph, November 30, 2008)
"Documentary to lay bare 'Narnia Code'," by Alison Flood (Guardian, December 2, 2008)
2. Other Narnia News:
A. Prince Caspian Released on 3 Disc Special Edition (DVD and Blue-ray Disc):
"Newly Released 'Prince Caspian' DVD Takes Movie Fans Behind the Magic," by Josh Kimball (Christian Post, December 2, 2008)
"'Prince Caspian' DVD hits stores tomorrow," by Bob Beltz (San Francisco Examiner, December 1, 2008)
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian 3-Disc Special Edition DVD Review," by Michael Weyer (411mania.com, December 5, 2008)
B. New Book Presents Skeptic's Appreciation of The Chronicles of Narnia:
Numerous articles are currently appearing on the new book by Salon.com's book critic Laura Miller, The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia. In the book, Ms. Miller recounts her childhood love for The Chronicles of Narnia, only to turn away from them as a non-Christian young adult, and later to return to them with skeptical admiration. Along the way, she has come to appreciate Lewis's immense accomplishment in the Narniad, but largely believes that this relates solely to Lewis's use of pre-Christian legends and symbols and that the Christian imagery was inappropriate and a "betrayal" (a view she incidentally does not hold for Philip Pullman's bluntly anti-Christian Dark Materials trilogy). Her error lies in failing to appreciate Lewis's (and J.R.R. Tolkien's, Charles Williams's and G.K. Chesterton's) deeper point that all truly good literature, including ancient legend, reflects shadowings of Christian truths. For Lewis, the difference between standard myth and Christianity is not that the former is more authentic myth, but that Christianity is most authentically what Tolkien called "true myth," in which the truths embedded in those legends, which althougth untrue have inspired and thrilled generations for millennia, became all too real in the true story of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, it was this insight by Lewis that was a major factor in his conversion in becoming a Christian. Although having much to be admired, Ms. Miller's book really is a reflection of her own biases and limitations as a agnostic/modernist journalist, and she would do well to dig deeper into Lewis's own scholarly writings on this matter, as well as Michael Ward's superb book, Planet Narnia. In so doing, she (as with both Philip Pullman and Tolkien himself) misinterprets numerous aspects of the Narniad stories, predictably based on her ignorance both of the classic literature Lewis was drawing upon and the "Medieval model" Ward reveals is at the heart of the books. Lewis's Narniad has been so extremely popular because of its profoundly effective and sophisticated integration of enduring truths of the yearning of all mankind for what Lewis rightly called "Joy," which leads us on a path directly to Christianity.
"A Return to Narnia: Adored in childhood, reconsidered in adulthood and finally embraced," by Meghan Cox Gurdon (Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2006)
"The Magician's Book: Actual Smart Things About C.S. Lewis (and J.R.R. Tolkien)," by Lev Grossman (Time, December 1, 2008)
"A spy in the house of Narnia," by Rebecca Traister (Salon.com, December 7, 2008)
3. Upcoming C.S. Lewis Society Events:
C.S. Lewis Society Bay Area Book and Film Club (See year-long schedule here)
Meets bi-weekly Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.
The upcoming meeting will be held at:
December 10 and 17: Discussion:
God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, by C.S. Lewis
Leader/moderator: Frank and Lucia La Rocca
God in the Dock is a wonderful book of forty-eight essays and twelve letters written by Lewis between 1940 and 1963. Ranging from popular newspaper pieces to learned defenses of Christian faith, these essays cover topics as varied as the logic of theism, good and evil, miracles, religion and science, ethics and politics, and much more.
"These two characteristics in Lewisthe searching mind and the poetic spiritare readily evident. . . . Here the reader finds the tough-minded polemicist relishing the debate; here too the kindly teacher explaining a complex abstraction by means of clarifying analogies; here the public speaker addressing his varied audience with all the humility and grace of a man who knows how much more remains to be known."
New York Times Book Review
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