Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Plan of Narnia

Priest and Scholar Michael Ward may have uncovered a hitherto unknown organizing schema for C. S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles in his assertion that the classical gods of the planets form the interpretive framework for the seven chronicles.  (see the Touchstone article here.)  Other schema have been suggested in the past, as Ward notes in his article, such as the seven sacraments, the seven deadly sins, but Ward asserts that Lewis’ own claim, that the series is “about Christ,” is true, and that what’s more, the septet is about Christ in a way that the organizing principle is the unseen way of understanding and portraying Christ.

When I was an undergraduate English lit major, Lewis was not in the canon, although he was important as a literary scholar himself, much in the same way that Tolkien’s fiction was not in the canon, but Tolkien’s edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was.  I pretty much accepted the generally accepted view and considered Narnia as a guilty pleasure but not, certainly, ahem, literature.  If Ward is right, Lewis carefully crafted a fictional universe that reveals truth about the real nature of the universe and does so in much the same way that the real universe reveals truth about the Most High.

You’re invited to read Ward’s article and share your opinion.  Is this the secret of Narnia?