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19390Re: [mythsoc] Planet Narnia

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  • David Bratman
    Feb 5, 2008
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      Paul Meeter <pdmeeter@...> wrote:
      >Ward wrote his doctoral dissertation at St. Andrews University in Scotland,
      >having graduated from Oxford and gotten his master's at Cambridge. He
      >believes that he has discovered a hidden (but not secret) structure to the
      >Chronicles of Narnia, based on the medieval perspective of the universe, the
      >Seven Heavens. There is poetry written by Lewis from the 30s, about
      >Jupiter, which follows the same theme as Carl Orff's "Planets" music on that
      >planet. This poem has surprising congruences to the plot matter in The
      >Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Jovial spring defeating winter,
      >judgement atoned for, romping, and so on. So Ward contends that LWW has as
      >its basis, God portrayed in the guise of Jove, as it were. He finds similar
      >congruences of a particular planet/heaven and each of the other six books.

      1) One needn't hunt down obscure Lewis poetry from the '30s to find him openly using the medieval astrological personifications of the planets. It's right there in "The Descent of the Gods" in _That Hideous Strength_. Hello?

      2) In fact, Diana Paxson once suggested to me the idea of doing "The Descent of the Gods" as a staged pageant, using the music of Gustav Holst's "The Planets", no less.

      3) And it _is_ Holst, not Orff. Sorry.

      4) I'll be curious to see how stretched Ward's thesis sounds. I can recall nowhere that Lewis writes about intending such a thing. Could he have generated such an idea subconsciously? Did he even intend to write exactly seven Narnian books before he came to the last one? Or is this a case of a scholar finding what he's looking for?

      5) Many years ago a then very young scholar named Steve Yandell presented a Mythcon paper on patterns of the number four in Lewis's work - particularly Narnia as I recall. It was certainly impressive, but made no claims that it was the whole symbolic meaning, or addressed whether Lewis intended it. Certainly it would be more believable as a subconscious effect.
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