New Discoveries

The cultures, creatures, geography — anything about the books!

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New Discoveries

Postby Reepicheep775 » Sep 30, 2017 12:12 pm

This can be a thread for any new discoveries you make about the Narnia books, anything that Lewis included that was subtle enough to escape your notice at first. It can be references to other literature, links to Lewis's non-fiction, or anything you like.

My most recent discovery happened today when I was researching nursery rhymes for a book I am writing. One of the nursery rhymes I looked at was called "Goosey Goosey Gander":

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady's chamber.

There I met an old man
Who wouldn't say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

If the highlighted part of that rhyme sounds familiar, it is because Lewis referenced it in Chapter 16 of the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Aslan is restoring the statues inside the Witch's house:

C. S. Lewis wrote:"Now for the inside of this house!" said Aslan. "Look alive, everyone. Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber! Leave no corner unsearched. You never know where some poor prisoner may be concealed."

Now I just wonder why Lewis made this reference. :-?
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Re: New Discoveries

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Nov 30, 2019 3:46 pm

*dusts off thread*

I was going to start a discussion on exactly this sort of thing and then I remembered this one existed. ;))

I read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton recently, who was one of Lewis's greatest influences, and a couple passages in the essay "The Ethics of Elfland" stood out to me. (Of all the essays in this book, this one in particular is of especial interest to Narnian-minded people, I think.)

G.K. Chesterton wrote:My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken certainty, I learnt in the nursery. I generally learnt it from a nurse; that is, from the solemn and star-appointed priestess at once of democracy and tradition. The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me to be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense. It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that criticised elfland, but elfland that criticised the earth. I knew the magic beanstalk before I had tasted beans; I was sure of the Man in the Moon before I was certain of the moon. This was at one with all popular tradition. Modern minor poets are naturalists, and talk about the bush or the brook; but the singers of the old epics and fables were supernaturalists, and talked about the gods of brook and bush. That is what the moderns mean when they say that the ancients did not "appreciate Nature," because they said that Nature was divine. Old nurses do not tell children about the grass, but about the fairies that dance on the grass; and the old Greeks could not see the trees for the dryads.

G.K. Chesterton wrote:Well, I left the fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since. I left the nurse guardian of tradition and democracy, and I have not found any modern type so sanely radical or so sanely conservative. But the matter for important comment was here, that when I first went out into the mental atmosphere of the modern world, I found that the modern world was positively opposed on two points to my nurse and to the nursery tales. It has taken me a long time to find out that the modern world is wrong and my nurse was right.

These passages really made me think of Caspian and his nurse in Prince Caspian, with her stories of old Narnia that turned out to be true! And the dull, modernist Miraz who wouldn't stand for her fairy tales and sent her away. I honestly would have a hard time believing that Lewis didn't have this essay in mind when he wrote Caspian's backstory.
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Re: New Discoveries

Postby Cleander » Dec 02, 2019 4:06 pm

I was recently reading in the Old Testament Book of Job, and came across a verse wherein God asks if Job was present when He "laid the foundations of the earth,... when all the morning stars sang together." (Job 38: 6-7). I couldn't help but think that Lewis had this in mind when writing the Narnian creation scene in the Magician's Nephew.
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