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19397Re: Planet Narnia

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  • Paul Meeter
    Feb 7, 2008
      Sorry, yes, it's Hulst, not Orff. I regularly get the two confused.

      I attended a lecture offered by Dr. Ward in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in
      mid-January in which he presented the thesis of his book. It was interesting
      that he took the time to go on a four-point "detour", as he called it, in
      order to "set up our minds", so to speak, to be as receptive as possible for
      his thesis. I think he's quite aware of the kinds of objections that will
      typically be raised.

      Ward gave us a hand-out with 5 quotes from Lewis works as part of his
      detour. These are:

      1. a section from The Discarded Image (ch. 5) (1935);
      2. the "descent of the gods" section of ch. 15 from That Hideous
      Strength (1945);
      3. a quote from "The Alliterative Metre" from Selected Literary Essays(1935)
      4. a part of a poet, 'The Planets' from Collected Poems (1935);
      5. a quote about Jupiter from Arthruian Torso (1948), chapter 4.

      More about these later.

      Ward disagrees with a subconscious inclusion because of the above quoted
      texts. As to "a scholar finding what he's looking for", the way Ward
      described it was that he was reading "The Planets" poem and happened upon
      the following lines:

      "Of wrath ended
      And woes mended, of winter passed
      And guilt forgiven, and good fortune
      Jove is master; and of jocund revel,
      Laughter of ladies. The lion-hearted,
      The myriad minded, men like the gods,
      Helps and heroes, helms of nations
      Just and gentle, are Jove's children,
      Work his wonders. On his wide forehead
      Calm and kingly, no care darkens
      Nor wrath wrinkles: but righteous power
      And leisure and largess their loose splendours
      Have wrapped around him - a rich mantle
      Of ease and empire."

      Ward read these lines, he told us, and a recognition occurred; he found
      himself thinking, "Have I not read such things in Lewis somewhere else?"
      And then he reread The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and found this poem
      written there, theme for theme, in a children's story.

      Ward said that Lewis only intended originally to write the one book. From
      Lewis, "The characters of the planets, as conceived by medieval astrology,
      seem to me to have a permanent value as spiritual symbols - to provide
      a Phanomenologie
      des Geistes which is specially worth while in our own generation. Of Saturn
      we know more than enough. But who does not need to be reminded of Jove?" -
      this from The Alliterative Metre.

      Ward said that Lewis seems to have intended to represent God in the aspect
      of Jove, incognito as it were. The reference to Saturn, is, of course, a
      reference to the first world war.

      So Jove is known as "Fortuna Major" and became the first and only intended
      story; but Lewis found that he enjoyed himself so much in the writing that
      he decided to do another and picked first "Fortuna Minor", that is, Venus.

      Apparently, The Magician's Nephew, with its Garden of the Hesperides, was
      the Venus story Lewis took up next but apparently had great difficulties
      presenting to pre-adolescents. It was the last story he finished, but the
      6th published.

      Ward made a point of showing how the seeming incongruousness of Father
      Christmas and fauns, for example, coming from two different myths, is
      answered by this harmonizing theme of Jove: Father Christmas is a jovial
      figure, perhaps the most jovial in the modern era.

      There was much more, but I would not belabor you.
      --
      Paul Meeter


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