Narnia and the Fields of Arbol
The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Series: Culture of the Land
Just as surely as good ecological practice must be understood not as an individual but as a communal affair, so the writing of this book has depended on a greater number of people than the two authors. Together we would like to offer especial thanks to John Elder, Norman Wirzba, Robert Siegel, and an anonymous reader for helpful comments on early ...
Conventions and Abbreviations
The present ecological crisis we are facing is due in part to an impoverishment of imagination. . . . Artistic resources must be an integral part in the development of genuine creation consciousness. Art works—in every medium—can symbolize for us our deepest concerns: they can be documents of what is and ...
1. What He Thought about Everything
In a preface to a volume of essays about C. S. Lewis, the late philosopher and writer Owen Barfield makes an interesting comment. “There was something in the whole quality and structure of his [Lewis’s] thinking, something for which the best label I can find is ‘presence of mind.’ And if I were asked to expand on that, I could only say that somehow what ...
2. Nature and Meaning in the History of Narnia
Wendell Berry’s powerful novel Jayber Crow—published in the year 2000 at the start of a new millennium—has as its subtitle The Life Story of Jayber Crow, barber, of the Port William Membership, as Written by Himself.1 And the book is, in a way, the life story of Jayber Crow. But it is also the life story of a small town, and more specifically of two ...
3. The Magician’s Nephew: Creation and Narnian Ecology
Anyone doubting that Lewis’s vision for Narnia is an agrarian one need only consider the job description for the first king of Narnia, given in The Magician’s Nephew. Even though it was the sixth book in the series to be published, The Magician’s Nephew is the first chronologically in the history of Narnia, and it may have been the second one Lewis imagined ...
4. The Last Battle and the End of Narnia
The Last Battle, the final book of the Chronicles of Narnia, begins with the ominous phrase, “In the last days of Narnia . . .” It ends with the great heroes of all seven books entering a heavenly paradise. For some, the most important environmental critique (or condemnation) of Christianity relates to the belief in heaven and the end of the earth ...
5. Out of the Silent Planet: Re-imagining Ecology
In recent decades biologists have discovered life in some very unlikely places. Extremely hot or cold environments, such as deep-sea vents and pools under Antarctic ice, harbor an abundance of creatures. Just decades ago, conventional wisdom held that nothing could live in such places. Now we find that things do live there, things that have expanded ...
6. Perelandra: Creation and Conscience
In 1960 a young girl named Meredith wrote to Lewis and asked him which of his books he thought was most “representational.” Lewis replied, “Do you mean simply which do I like the best? Now, the answer w[oul]d be Till We Have Faces and Perelandra.”1 For the last few decades of his life, Lewis considered Perelandra (written in 1941–1942) one of ...
7. That Hideous Strength: Assault on the Soil and Soul of England
In The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien provides a threefold glimpse of the destructive ecological impact of evil. After portraying environmental devastation in its most extreme form in the faraway landscape of Mordor, and also in the ravaged land of Isengard, he brings the battle back to the Shire, the homeland of the Hobbits. For many readers, this ...
8. The Re-enchantment of Creation
In the title of this chapter, we use the word enchantment. We have used the word often throughout this book, but so far haven’t stopped to say exactly what we mean by it. Part of the reason is that it has multiple meanings, and we have made use of more than one. Enchantment may be a subjective feeling. Something—in the context of this book ...