Item description for A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C.S. Lewis's Classic Story by Leland Ryken & Marjorie Lamp Mead...
Overview In this interactive, informative book, a Lewis scholar and a literary expert unlock the door to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
Publishers Description Step inside the wardrobe. . . . You may be surprised at what you find.In C. S. Lewis's classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund discover Narnia for the first time, precariously navigating their way through the unpredictable, enchanted world where beavers talk, a Witch turns people to stone, and a Lion rules as King.For decades their adventure has captivated the imagination of both children and adults. Yet this first story in the Chronicles--and the story behind the story--still hold many surprises and unpredictable twists and turns.In this interactive, informative book, literary expert Leland Ryken and Lewis scholar Marjorie Lamp Mead unlock the door to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, inviting you to step inside--deeper and deeper, past the musty fur coats--and gaze in wide-eyed wonder once again at the magical, wintery world Lucy first found.A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe helps you examine the story from Lewis's point of view, shedding light on his imagination and use of literary forms. Even further, Mead and Ryken serve as your guides through this first Narnia adventure, providing an inside look at characters, setting and framework. Here is a book that will help you see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Lucy first saw Narnia--with fresh, new eyes, childlike wonder and anticipation for the adventure that lies ahead.
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Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) is the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College and author or editor of more than thirty books, as well as many articles. He is also a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and lives in Illinois. Philip Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford, England) is president of Wheaton College. He was formerly senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books and lives with his family in Illinois. Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and lives with his family in Illinois.
Leland Ryken currently resides in the state of Illinois.
Leland Ryken has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis Classic Story?
"The Good Ones Last..." Nov 13, 2006
As far as critical literary sources go, "Though the Wardrobe" has no room for...well, criticism. Marjorie Lamp Mead and Leland Ryken adore C. S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia", and will defend it to the death. On the one hand, it is nice to read a sourcebook that is so obviously passionate about its subject matter, on the other there is no room for any objective criticism. As much as I like "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and the rest of Lewis's work, many of his ideas are undeniably dated (particularly his attitudes toward woman and anyone who isn't of the white, British middleclass). Mead and Ryken have no interest in critiquing his work, only defending it. Depending on what you're looking for in a book like this, you'll either really enjoy it, or find it useless. As such, my rating is obsolete - it is an entirely subjective read, dependant on what it is you need/want from this book.
As a result of Mead/Ryken's love of Lewis, "Through the Wardrobe" is not so much a literary discussion or an exploration into the text, but a guide on how to best appreciate Lewis's most famous children's story. The book is divided into two halves; the first titled "A Guided Tour of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", and the second "Narnian Backgrounds."
To call the first half "A Guided Tour" is the best way to describe the bulk of the book. It basically takes each chapter of the novel and examines their contents; not so much the plot content, but the techniques, styles and little writing tricks that Lewis instigated in his creation of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Archetypes, motifs, symbolism, characterisation, the widely-debated theological allusions; all of these types of writing tools are discussed when and where they are relevant. It is all about the writing technique of Lewis, not the meaning he infuses into the story. Along the way Mead/Ryken have sprinkled quotes and tidbits of information from other Narnia-scholars, and segments labelled: "For Reflection or Discussion"; a series of questions that invite you to explore your thoughts on each chapter (to be honest, I skipped over most of these).
The second half is a brief biography of Lewis, exploring his life, his inspirations, the Christian angle, and some of the hostile criticism that *others* have levelled toward Lewis's work. Do *not* buy this book for the sake of the second half; unless you are just beginning to show an interest in Lewis's lifetime, there are hundreds of much more detailed biographies on the subject out there, this one merely brushes the surface.
As I said at the beginning of this review, your enjoyment of it all depends on what you need from it.
In-depth study of literary devices used by Lewis Jan 14, 2006
Millions have loved C. S. Lewis' Narnia books over the years. With the recent release of the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a plethora of books have appeared about the life and work of this talented Oxford scholar.
A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe provides a unique look at Lewis' first Narnian chronicle. The authors use each chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to demonstrate a literary device employed by Lewis. From the basics of the beginning chapter, showing how stories are begun, to "the role of myth" as the tale is winding down, the authors have done an expert job matching the varied chapters to themes. So expert that it starts to feel like Lewis wrote 17 separate little books.
While this focus may stifle cross-referencing between chapters, it helps readers to pause and look at the individual parts of the story instead of rushing through (the authors do stress reading the book purely for enjoyment first before dissecting it). Detailed, thought-provoking prose explains the literary terms, and clearly-marked questions offer opportunity for discussion. The careful attention to how Lewis used various elements is especially helpful to writers.
In Part 2 of this book, the authors describe Lewis' literary influence, how The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was received, and the Christian vision of the book, plus give a brief biography of Lewis. The in-depth study may scare off some readers, but Ryken and Mead's book is quite readable despite scholarly leanings. I highly recommended A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe for Narnia fans. -- Katie Hart, Christian Book Previews.com
3.5 Stars Sep 30, 2005
In the decades that have passed since Aslan first got on the move, readers of all ages have been fascinated by the lands of Narnia created by Clive Staples Lewis. Inevitably, analysis has been applied to the books, finding the hidden meanings in the fantasy, debating whether fantasy is appropriate for Christians to read, and so forth. Finally, someone has gone in and examined the books, particularly the first volume, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, from as close to Lewis' own perspective as an outside observer can come. We get to see how Lewis conceived his world and what his intent actually was. Though the biographical details are not predominant, it is shown how they play into the story and what influenced the final results. Each chapter has discussion questions included, making this an ideal book for small group study, especially in light of the upcoming film.
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore, Freelance Reviewer.
How to Think About Narnia Sep 18, 2005
It seems difficult to think about the Chronicles of Narnia critically from a literary perspective. I recall being read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (LWW) by my 2nd grade teacher and being entranced by the story. When I finally purchased the Chronicles set for myself I made it a point to purchase the exact same edition from which I was read. Many people, I'm sure, feel this same sort of bond with the books that seem to transcend critical thinking since they grip our hearts so firmly.
A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C.S. Lewis' Classic Story challenges us to take a critical look at the first of the Narnian stories. The authors begin by making it clear in the introduction that this guide should be used after initially reading LWW purely for enjoyment. The rest of the book is divided into two parts. Part One contains 18 chapters following each chapter of LWW.
Part One is called the "Guided Tour." Each chapter introduces some aspect of literary device that Lewis utilized, such as foiling, archetypes, foreshadowing. Throughout the chapters reflective quotes from Lewis and Lewis scholars are interspersed to add insight. There are plenty of scattered study questions as well, all of which are geared toward helping the reader think through the different elements in LWW.
Part Two offers extended background information and follows a more typical book format. Chapter 19 looks at how the Chronicles came to be written. Chapter 20 examines the reception of the series, including a number of criticisms that have been leveled against Lewis. The final chapter outlines the Christian elements in LWW. There is also a brief biography of Lewis and appendix on the order by which to read the series at the end.
For the most part, this book pleasantly surprised me. I wasn't sure what to expect out of a reader's guide, since I haven't read one before. It essentially teaches readers how to think about the book, while leaving what to think about it mostly to the reader. The guide was consistently interesting and insightful into both Lewis and literature in general. The authors compliment each other terrifically- Leland Ryken being a literary specialist and Marjorie Lamp Mead being a Lewis scholar.
The only part of the book that I thought could use improvement was the last chapter on the Christian vision of LWW. While there were some noteworthy points made in it, it didn't seem to have the solid structure and flow of content the rest of the book has. With that only exception, A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe is an excellent tool for helping those of us already romantically familiar with Lewis' masterpiece to take our affections to the next level. With the insights from Ryken and Mead, I believe I can now appreciate Narnia, as well as other fictional literature, more profoundly.