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A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C.S. Lewis's Classic Story [Paperback]

By Leland Ryken (Author) & Marjorie Lamp Mead (Author)
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Item description for A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C.S. Lewis's Classic Story by Leland Ryken & Marjorie Lamp Mead...

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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Item Specifications...

Studio: InterVarsity Press
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.26" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.58"
Weight:   0.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2005
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830832890  
ISBN13  9780830832897  

Availability  0 units.

More About Leland Ryken & Marjorie Lamp Mead

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Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly 50 years. He has authored or edited over fifty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meetings and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible.

Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Todd has spent over a decade in pastoral ministry, previously serving on staff at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the cofounder and chairman of the Center for Pastor Theologians, a ministry dedicated to resourcing pastor theologians. Todd and his wife, Katie, have seven children.

David Jackman (MA, Cambridge University) is a renowned Christian speaker and author. In addition to serving as a visiting lecturer at London's Oak Hill Theological College, he is also a former president of The Proclamation Trust, a ministry dedicated to encouraging and equipping Bible teachers around the world.

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

Paul R. House (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He has been a pastor or teacher in churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries for over thirty years. He is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version Bible. House is the author of numerous books, including Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Grudem earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, as well as an MDiv from Westminster Seminary. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a cofounder and past president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books, including Systematic Theology, Evangelical Feminism, Politics--According to the Bible, and Business for the Glory of God.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Bruce William Winter (PhD, Macquarie University) is the director of the Institute for Early Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World. Winter was previously the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge and is currently a part-time lecturer at Queensland Theological College in Australia.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

Duane Litfin (DPhil, University of Oxford; PhD, Purdue University) is president emeritus of Wheaton College where he served for seventeen years. He is the author of numerous articles and books.

Phillip D. Jensen is an evangelist, a Bible teacher, and the director of Two Ways Ministries.

Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.

Peter Jensen is a retired Australian Anglican bishop, theologian and academic. From 1985 to 2001, he was principal of Moore Theological College. From 2001 to 2013, he was the archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Jon M. Dennis (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; MLA, University of Chicago) is the founding pastor and senior pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, Illinois. He has helped to establish the church's four congregations and various ministries including Hope for Chicago, the Charles Simeon Trust, and the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. He is the author of several books and is currently working to complete his doctorate of ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary. Jon and his wife, Amy, have five children.

David R. Helm (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. He also serves as Chairman of The Charles Simeon Trust, an organization which promotes practical instruction in preaching. He is the co-author of The Genesis Factor (with Jon Dennis), a contributor to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching, and the author of The Big Picture Story Bible and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude in the Preaching the Word commentary series.

Leland Ryken currently resides in the state of Illinois.

Leland Ryken has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Guides to the Classics
  2. Writers' Palette Book

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > Lewis, C.S.
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
3Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Literature Guides
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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
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.

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