Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/2718
Clive Staples Lewis is without a doubt a writer whose works have touched the hearts of people from all over the world. This Irish author is mostly known for his essays on Christian apologetics but no less for his fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-1956) which became an instant success on both sides of the Atlantic. The series count seven books which are all full of creative imagination and reflect his deep passion for fantasy. C. S. Lewis takes the reader by the hand into a fascinating course of events, making him overlook the unrealistic features of the Narnian world: it seems to be real.
Not everyone was optimistic on the success of the first book in the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950). One of them was his good friend and critic J. R. R. Tolkien, because when he read through the script he was certain that the technique Lewis had adopted could never become as successful as he intended. This essay takes a close look at the factors that led to Lewis’s success and what it possibly was that proved Tolkien’s predictions wrong. It is divided into two sections, the former one dealing with how Lewis became familiar with the genre of fantasy literature as a child. It examines his first attempt to use it as a tool to express his imagination and it reveals how fantasy served him as a refuge from the harshness of real life. Additionally, it reviews the narrative style Lewis used for this first book in the series, e.g. how he succeeds to connect in a gripping and positive way with his young as well as adult readers. The latter section analyses the criticism Lewis received in general, especially what might have triggered Tolkien’s negative response to the manuscript. Finally, it examines which of Lewis’s strengths may have led to the success of Narnia.