Friday, June 13, 2008

Planet Narnia

In the middle ages there was a different, unscientific and somewhat symbolic understanding of outer space. Perhaps that is even the wrong choice of words to describe it. Heavens is better. In this view, the heavens were divided into seven spheres, each with their own reigning planet. From the Earth out they were: Lunis (the moon), Mercury, Venus, Solis (the sun), Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. One still sees evidences of this old system in Europe. In downtown Dresden on the “Balcony of Europe” there is a statue devoted to the celestial spheres.

It was symbolic because the planets were also associated with other things like metals and moods: Jupiter with tin and joy, Mars with iron and war, Saturn with death, Venus with beauty and love, etc.

The reason this is making its way into the NonModern blog, (aside from it being a non-modern idea!) is found in the new book by Dr. Michael Ward entitled “Planet Narnia.” In it he proposes the theory that C.S. Lewis built and structured each of his Chronicles of Narnia after one of the seven planets. In fact, he explores Lewis’ use of the planetary concept in much of his writing. The way this idea explains the seeming lack of structure or continuity and some of the stranger inclusions like Father Christmas and mythological gods is compelling.

Here is the way the Chronicles line up according to Dr. Ward: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe—Jupiter, Prince Caspian—Mars, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader—Sun, The Silver Chair—Moon, The Horse and His Boy—Mercury, The Magician’s Nephew—Venus, The Last Battle—Saturn.

The verdict is still out, but it is a good read. Plus, Dr. Ward favors publication order and not chronological, so he at least has one thing right!

2 comments:

  1. So how about a blog about musicals? Their place in movie history, the fact that only americans and indians seem to like them, why in the world it makes sense for characters to suddenly break out into song in the middle of a perfectly good movie?

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  2. He he. Sounds like a good idea. I have been toying around with a series of thoughts on different art forms and another one on American contributions to art. Seems like it could go in either stream. I'll have to give that some thought. Cheryl was just saying the other day that we should check out some Bollywood...

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