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Planet Narnia

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  • Paul Meeter
    I ve done a couple of searches on this site and haven t found anything on Dr. Michael Ward s book, Planet Narnia . Have there been comments I missed? I took
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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      I've done a couple of searches on this site and haven't found anything
      on Dr. Michael Ward's book, "Planet Narnia". Have there been comments
      I missed?

      I took in his lecture at Calvin College in G.R., Mich. - found it
      rather convincing at the time.
    • Margaret Dean
      ... I ve never even heard of the book, but it sounds interesting. Tell us about it! --Margaret Dean
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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        Paul Meeter wrote:
        >
        > I've done a couple of searches on this site and haven't found anything
        > on Dr. Michael Ward's book, "Planet Narnia". Have there been comments
        > I missed?
        >
        > I took in his lecture at Calvin College in G.R., Mich. - found it
        > rather convincing at the time.

        I've never even heard of the book, but it sounds interesting.
        Tell us about it!


        --Margaret Dean
        <margdean@...>
      • Croft, Janet B.
        There was a link here a while back to a journal article by Ward that laid out the main premises of the book: Narnia s Secret, Touchstone, December 2007.
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 4, 2008
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          There was a link here a while back to a journal article by Ward that laid out the main premises of the book: "Narnia's Secret," Touchstone, December 2007. It's available at touchstonemag.com. I found it quite interesting. I've requested a copy of the book for review in Mythlore. If your library has access to Oxford's online database, you can read it now in electronic format. I very much look forward to reading the book!

          Janet Brennan Croft
          Editor of Mythlore http://www.mythsoc.org/mythlore.html

          "Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the rising ape meets the falling angel." -Terry Pratchett

          ________________________________
          From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Margaret Dean
          Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2008 2:11 PM
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Planet Narnia


          Paul Meeter wrote:
          >
          > I've done a couple of searches on this site and haven't found anything
          > on Dr. Michael Ward's book, "Planet Narnia". Have there been comments
          > I missed?
          >
          > I took in his lecture at Calvin College in G.R., Mich. - found it
          > rather convincing at the time.

          I've never even heard of the book, but it sounds interesting.
          Tell us about it!

          --Margaret Dean
          <margdean@...<mailto:margdean%40erols.com>>



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        • Paul Meeter
          Ward wrote his doctoral dissertation at St. Andrews University in Scotland, having graduated from Oxford and gotten his master s at Cambridge. He believes
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 4, 2008
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            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.


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          • David Emerson
            ... Did Orff *also* write Planets music, or did you mean the more well-known suite by Gustav Holst? emerdavid ________________________________________
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 5, 2008
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              >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...

              Did Orff *also* write "Planets" music, or did you mean the more well-known suite by Gustav Holst?

              emerdavid

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            • David Bratman
              ... 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
              Message 6 of 8 , 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.
              • Paul Meeter
                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
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 7, 2008
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                  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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                • Doug Kane
                  Last August, there was some talk here about the paper I presented at MythCon on my work tracing the creation of the published Silmarillion, which I called
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 8, 2008
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                    Last August, there was some talk here about the paper I presented at MythCon
                    on my work tracing the creation of the published Silmarillion, which I
                    called "Arda Reconstructed". At the time, I indicated that I was revising
                    my manuscript at the direction of a reader who had reviewed it for a
                    potential publisher. I am happy to announce that the revised manuscript has
                    now been accepted for publication by the Lehigh University Press. I don't
                    have a publication date yet, but it will likely be early in 2009.



                    There are many people that have given me invaluable assistance in this
                    project. However, I need to give special mention to the anonymous reader
                    who reviewed my initial manuscript. It would have been very easy for that
                    person to simply recommend rejecting the manuscript out of hand, without
                    taking the time to provide such detailed and excellent suggestions for
                    reorganizing and revising it. I honestly believe that had this person not
                    been so diligent, my hard work likely would have been for naught. Based on
                    the extensive knowledge of Tolkien's work that the reader showed, I suspect
                    that there is a very good chance that it is someone who is on this list. If
                    so, I want to say "thank you".



                    Here is a brief description of the book:



                    In The History of Middle-earth, Christopher Tolkien documents in amazing
                    detail the development of the lifelong work of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien,
                    that would become The Silmarillion. However, neither Christopher Tolkien
                    himself, nor anyone else, has ever thoroughly documented the final step: his
                    actual creation (several years after his father's death) of the published
                    work.

                    That has finally changed. ARDA RECONSTRUCTED: The Creation of the Published
                    Silmarillion reveals a tapestry woven by Christopher Tolkien from different
                    portions of his father's work that is often quite mind-boggling, with
                    inserts that seemed initially to have been editorial inventions shown to
                    have come from some remote other portion of Tolkien's vast body of work. I
                    demonstrate how material that was written over the course of more than 30
                    years was merged together. I also make a frank appraisal of the material
                    omitted by Christopher Tolkien (and in a couple of egregious cases the
                    material invented by him) and how these omissions and insertions may have
                    distorted his father's vision of what he considered-even more than The Lord
                    of the Rings-to be his most important work. It is a fascinating portrait of
                    a unique collaboration that reached beyond the grave.



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