The Chronicles of Narnia
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|The Chronicles of Narnia|
Seven books in series
( Hardback & Paperback)
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages. Written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954 and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, The Chronicles of Narnia have been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage, and cinema.
The series contains many allusions to traditional Christian ideas, presented in a format designed to make them easily accessible to younger readers; however, the books can also be read purely for their adventure, colour, and richness of ideas, and as a result have become favourites of children and adults, Christians and non-Christians alike. In addition to employing Christian themes, Lewis also borrows characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology, as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales.
The Chronicles of Narnia present the adventures of children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the fictional realm of Narnia, a place where animals talk, magic is common, and good battles evil. Each of the books (with the exception of The Horse and His Boy) features as its protagonists children from our world who are magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon to help the lion Aslan right some wrong.
Although he only appears in three of the seven books, the main character is generally considered to be Digory Kirke, who is by far the wisest character in the books, with the exception of Aslan. Digory is introduced as the title character in the first book, The Magician's Nephew, and appears as the old professor in later books. The BBC Radio 4 drama of all 7 chronicles tells the story from Digory's point of view.
The seven books
The Chronicles of Narnia have been in continuous publication since 1954 and have sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages (Kelly 2006) (Guthmann 2005). Lewis was awarded the 1956 Carnegie Medal for The Last Battle, the final book in the Narnia series. The books were written by Lewis between 1949 and 1954 but were not written entirely in either the order they were originally published or in the chronological order in which they are currently presented (Ford 2005). The original illustrator was Pauline Baynes and her simple pen and ink drawings are still used in publication today. The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are presented here in the order in which they were originally published (see reading order below). Completion dates for the novels are English ( Northern Hemisphere) seasons.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed in the spring of 1950 (Ford 2005) and published in 1950, tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie. They discover that the wardrobe in an old professor's house leads to the magical land of Narnia, currently under the spell of a witch. The children fulfill an ancient, mysterious prophecy as they help Aslan save Narnia from the evil White Witch who has reigned over the kingdom of Narnia for a hundred years.
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
Completed in the autumn of 1950 and published in 1951, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children's second trip to Narnia, during which they discover that an evil king has usurped the throne. Once again, they set out to save Narnia, this time with the help of the rightful ruler, Prince Caspian.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
Completed in the winter of 1950 and published in 1952, The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ returns Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, to Narnia. Once there, they accompany King Caspian on a voyage to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan's country at the end of the world.
The Silver Chair (1953)
Completed in the spring of 1951 and published in 1953, The Silver Chair is the first book without the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four clues to find Prince Rilian, Caspian's son, who had been kidnapped ten years earlier. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle and many others, face great danger before finding Rilian.
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
Completed in the spring of 1950 and published in 1954, The Horse and His Boy is the first of the books that does not follow the previous one sequentially; instead, it takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The story is about Bree, a talking horse, and Shasta, a young boy, who have both been held (albeit separately) in bondage in Calormen, a country to the south of Narnia. By chance, they meet each other and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. On their journey they discover that the Calormenes are about to invade Archenland, and they plan to arrive there first to alert the King.
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
Completed in the winter of 1954 and published in 1955, the prequel The Magician's Nephew brings the reader back to the very beginning of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Another group of people from Earth stumble into Narnia via an entirely different route. Many long-standing questions about Narnia are answered, such as how inter-world travel was made possible, how a lampost came to be in a woodland and where the wardrobe came from.
The Last Battle (1956)
Completed in the spring of 1953 and published in 1956, The Last Battle chronicles the end of the world of Narnia. Jill and Eustace return to save Narnia from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle, a donkey, into impersonating the lion Aslan. In this book, it is revealed what Aslan's country really is.
Fans of the series often have strong opinions over the correct ordering of the books. When the books were originally published, they were not numbered. The first American publisher, Macmillan, put numbers on the books in the order in which they were published. When HarperCollins took over the series in 1994, the books were renumbered using the internal chronological order, as suggested by Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham.
|Publication order||Chronological order|
|The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe||The Magician's Nephew|
|Prince Caspian||The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe|
|The Voyage of the Dawn Treader||The Horse and His Boy|
|The Silver Chair||Prince Caspian|
|The Horse and His Boy||The Voyage of the Dawn Treader|
|The Magician's Nephew||The Silver Chair|
|The Last Battle||The Last Battle|
To make the case for his suggested order, Gresham quoted Lewis' reply to a letter from an American fan in 1957 who was having an argument with his mother about the order:
“I think I agree with your order [i.e. chronological] for reading the books more than with your mother’s. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn't think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last. But I found as I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them. I’m not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in which they were published.” (Dorsett & Mead 1996)
In the HarperCollins adult editions of the books (2005), the publisher asserts Lewis' preference for the numbering they adopted in a notice on the copyright page:
Although The Magician's Nephew was written several years after C.S. Lewis first began The Chronicles of Narnia®, he wanted it to be read as the first book in the series. HarperCollins is happy to present these books in the order which Professor Lewis preferred.
Some fans of the series who appreciate the original order believe that Lewis was only being polite to a child, and that he could have changed the order in his lifetime had he so desired (Brady 2005). They maintain that much of the magic of Narnia comes from the way in which the world is gradually presented in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. They believe that the mystery of the wardrobe is narratively a much better introduction than in The Magician's Nephew — where the word "Narnia" is the fortieth word in the book. Moreover, they say that it is clear from the texts themselves that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was intended to be the first book read, and that The Magician's Nephew was not. For instance, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when Aslan is first mentioned, the narrator states, "None of the children knew who Aslan was, any more than you do." Fans of the original order say that that statement is nonsensical if one has already read The Magician's Nephew. Other similar textual examples are also cited. This argument hinges partly on the claim that Chronology is not equivalent to Narrative (Rilstone 2004).
- Specific Christian parallels may be found in the entries for individual books and characters.
Although he did not set out to do so, in the process of writing his fantasy works, Lewis (an adult convert to Christianity) found himself incorporating Christian theological concepts into his stories. As he wrote in Of Other Worlds:
Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument, then collected information about child psychology and decided what age group I’d write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out ‘allegories’ to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn’t write in that way. It all began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn’t anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord.
Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory (Collins 1980, pp. 305) and the author of The Allegory of Love, maintained that the books were not allegory, and preferred to call the Christian aspects of them "suppositional". This is similar to what we would now call fictional parallel universes. As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs Hook in December of 1958:
“If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim's Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality, however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, ‘What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’ This is not allegory at all” (Martindale & Root 1990).
With the release of the 2005 Disney film there has been renewed interest in the Christian parallels found in the books. Some find them distasteful, while noting that they are easy to miss if you are not familiar with Christianity (Toynbee 2005). Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, says flatly that Lewis has become "a pawn in America's culture wars" (Jacobs 2005). Some Christians see the Chronicles as excellent tools for Christian evangelism (Kent 2005). A multitude of books have been written that draw attention to the Chronicles' Biblical parallels (see Further Reading below).
Influences on Narnia
Lewis's early life has echoes within the Chronicles. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1898, he moved with his family to a large house on the edge of the city when he was seven. The house contained long hallways and empty rooms, and Lewis and his brother invented make-believe worlds while exploring their home. Like Caspian and Rilian, Lewis lost his mother at an early age (about 10); like Edmund, Jill, and Eustace, he spent a long, miserable time in English boarding schools and, as a young boy, he, again like Caspian, had a tutor who brought new light into his dark, sad life.
During World War II, many children were evacuated from London because of air raids. Some of these children (including one named Lucy) stayed with Lewis at his home in Oxford, just as the Pevensies stayed with the professor (Wilson 2005).
Lewis was the chief member of the Inklings, an informal literary discussion group in Oxford which at various times included the writers J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Lewis's brother W. H. Lewis, and Roger Lancelyn Green. Readings and discussions of the members' unfinished works were one of the main activities of the group when they met, usually on Thursday evenings, in C. S. Lewis's college rooms at Magdalen College. Some of the Narnia stories are thought to have been read to the Inklings for their appreciation and comment.
Influences from mythology
The fauna of the series borrows from both Greek mythology and Norse mythology. For example, centaurs originated in Greek myth, and dwarfs have origins in Norse myth.
Drew Trotter, president of the Centre for Christian Study, noted that the producers of the film version of The Chronicles of Narnia felt that The Chronicles of Narnia closely follows the archetypal pattern of the monomyth as detailed in Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces (Trotter 2005). Both The Chronicles of Narnia and the New Testament contain Jungian archetypal imagery.
Michael Ward has recently argued that in the seven books of the Chronicles Aslan takes on the characteristics of the seven planets of medieval cosmology. His theory has quickly gained widespread acceptance from Lewis scholars such as Walter Hooper, Alan Jacobs, and Derek Brewer.(Ward 2005)
The origin of the name Narnia is uncertain. According to Paul Ford's Companion to Narnia, there is no indication that Lewis was alluding to the ancient Umbrian city Nequinium, renamed Narnia by the conquering Romans in 299 BC after the river Nar, a tributary of the Tiber. However, since Lewis studied classics at Oxford, it is possible that he came across at least some of the seven or so references to Narnia in Latin literature (Ford 2005). There is also the possibility (but no solid evidence) that Lewis, who studied medieval and Renaissance literature, was aware of a reference to Lucia von Narnia ("Lucy of Narnia") in a 1501 German text, Wunderliche Geschichten von geistlichen Weybbildern ("Wondrous stories of monastic women") (Ercole d’Este 1501) (Green 2007). There is no evidence of a link with Tolkien's Elvish ( Sindarin) word narn, meaning a lay or poetic narrative, as in his posthumously published Narn i Chîn Húrin, though Lewis may have read or heard parts of this at meetings of the Inklings.
Narnia's influence on others
A more recent British series of novels, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, has been seen as a response to the Narnia books. Pullman's series favours scientific materialism over religion, wholly rejecting the themes of Christian theology which permeate the Narnia series, but has many of the same issues, subject matter, and types of characters (including talking animals) as the Chronicles of Narnia.
Fantasy author Neil Gaiman wrote the 2004 short story " The Problem of Susan", in which an elderly woman, Professor Hastings, is depicted dealing with the grief and trauma of her entire family dying in a train crash. The woman's first name is not revealed, but she mentions her brother "Ed", and it is strongly implied that this is Susan Pevensie as an elderly woman. In the story Gaiman presents, in fictional form, a critique of Lewis' treatment of Susan. The story can be found in Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy Volume II (edited by Al Sarrantonio) and in the Gaiman collection Fragile Things. "The Problem of Susan" is written for an adult audience and deals with sexuality and violence (Gaiman 2004, pp. 151ff). Additionally, Gaiman's Sandman graphic novel series features a Narnia-like "dream island" in its story arc entitled A Game of You.
The Talisman, written by Stephen King and Peter Straub, features a boy named Jack who travels between our Earth and a magical world in hopes of acquiring a mystical object in order to save the life of his mother who is dying of cancer, as well as the world. A main premise of the book, the concept of "twinners", closely resembles Lewis' assertion that Aslan is a manifestation of Jesus Christ in a parallel world. In King's The Dark Tower series, the Dark Tower is described as the "lynchpin" where all possible realities connect. At one point it is stated that in one reality the Tower manifests as a lion. Also, in the last book, the protagonists flee through a wardrobe (by teleportation from Dinky Earnshaw). Jake also mentions remembering the book.
In Katherine Paterson's book Bridge to Terabithia, one of the main characters, Leslie, tells the other main character, Jesse, of her love of C. S. Lewis' books, and mentions Narnia. Some people have accused her of plagiarism, because of a Narnian island named Terebinthia, but Paterson has said that the reference was not deliberate (Paterson 2003, pp. 1).
Science fiction author Greg Egan's short story "Oracle" depicts a parallel universe with an author nicknamed "Jack" who has written novels about the fictional Kingdom of Nesica, and whose wife is dying of cancer. The story uses several Narnian allegories to explore issues of religion and faith versus science and knowledge.
Influence on popular culture
As one would expect with any popular, long-lived work, references to The Chronicles of Narnia are relatively common in pop culture. References to the lion Aslan, travelling via wardrobe, and direct references to The Chronicles of Narnia occur in books, television, songs, games and graphic novels. For example:
- The American rock band Phish's song Prince Caspian from the album Billy Breathes features what may be "the sound of horse's hooves galloping under water" and the repeated lyric, "Oh to be Prince Caspian, afloat upon the waves... with nothing to return to but the demons in their caves."
- In Roald Dahl's book Matilda, the title character Matilda says that she loves the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
- The computer adventure game Simon the Sorcerer contains a scene in which the main character finds a stone table and says, "perfect for troll meals and shaved lions".
- In the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (vol. 2, num. 1), reference is made in a text fragment to the apple tree from The Magician's Nephew. In the next comic in the series, a text piece refers to the possibility of making a wardrobe from the apple tree.
C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia series have received various criticisms over the years, much of it by fellow authors. Allegations of sexism centre around the description of Susan Pevensie in The Last Battle; Lewis characterizes Susan as being "no longer a friend of Narnia" and interested "in nothing nowadays except lipstick, nylons and invitations". At the end of The Last Battle the other children die and join Aslan in the Narnian afterlife. Susan remains alive, her ultimate fate unknown.
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has said:
"There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex, I have a big problem with that." (Grossman 2005)
Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, describes the Narnia stories as "monumentally disparaging of women". (Ezard 2002) He interprets the Susan passages this way:
"Susan, like Cinderella, is undergoing a transition from one phase of her life to another. Lewis didn't approve of that. He didn't like women in general, or sexuality at all, at least at the stage in his life when he wrote the Narnia books. He was frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up." (Pullman 1998)
But Rilstone, among others, opposes this view, arguing that the "lipsticks, nylons and invitations" quote is taken out of context. They maintain that in The Last Battle Susan is excluded from Narnia explicitly because she no longer believes in it. At the end of the story Susan is still alive and may end up rejoining her family. Moreover, Susan's adulthood and sexual maturity are portrayed in a positive light in The Horse and his Boy. Why, Lewis supporters ask, would Lewis later use them as the reason for her exclusion from Narnia? Lewis supporters cite the positive roles of women in the series, including Jill Pole in The Silver Chair, Aravis Tarkheena in The Horse and His Boy, Polly Plummer in The Magician's Nephew, and particularly Lucy Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,. Jacobs asserts that Lucy is the most admirable of the human characters, and that in general the girls come off better than the boys through the stories (Anderson 2005), (Rilstone 2005), (Jacobs 2005), (Bowman 2003).
In addition to the sexism accusation, Pullman has also implicated The Chronicles of Narnia series in fostering racism. (Ezard 2002)(BBC News 2005)
[For Lewis] "Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-coloured people are better than dark-coloured people; and so on. There is no shortage of such nauseating drivel in Narnia, if you can face it" (Pullman 1998).
About racism in The Horse and His Boy specifically, newspaper editor Kyrie O'Connor writes:
"It's just too dreadful. While the book's storytelling virtues are enormous, you don't have to be a bluestocking of political correctness to find some of this fantasy anti-Arab, or anti-Eastern, or anti- Ottoman. With all its stereotypes, mostly played for belly laughs, there are moments you'd like to stuff this story back into its closet" (OConnor 2005).
The racism critique is based on a negative representation of other races and religions, particularly the Calormenes. Novelist Philip Hensher and other critics regard the portrayal of Calormene culture as an attack on Islam. (Hensher 1998). The Calormenes are described as oily and dark-skinned people who wear turbans and pointy slippers and are armed with scimitars. This depiction has been cited as a blatant allegorical comparison to the traditional attire of Islam and Sikhism. Turbans are worn by Muslim clerics, and most adult Sikh males. Scimitars originated in the Middle East, and are highly symbolic of Islam. The Calormenes worship the "false god" Tash, who is portrayed as a stereotypical Satanic being requiring evil deeds and sacrifices from his followers.
However, Calormene religion has no resemblance to Islam, as it is polytheistic and worships a plethora of gods. The religion of the Calormenes seems more likely to have been based on early Canaanite and Carthaginian religion, which also required human sacrifice, and was portrayed as the ultimate in diabolism in G. K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man, a book which Lewis admired. Claims of racism are also countered by Lewis' positive portrayal of several Calormenes. In The Horse and His Boy, the female protagonist Aravis is a Calormene noblewoman who is accepted whole-heartedly by the Archenlanders and Narnians and marries Cor, an Archenland prince. In The Last Battle, the Calormene Emeth is deemed a worthy person by Aslan regardless of his skin colour and despite the fact that he was a worshiper of Tash (Nelson 2005, pp. B14). The entire country of Calormen, including its capital city of Tashbaan, is part of Aslan's "heaven" in The Last Battle.
Lewis supporters point to the fact that Lewis writings have a particularly British Victorian era flavour that was much in fashion during his lifetime, but that may be seen as politically incorrect nowadays. O'Connor writes, "In his time, people thought it was amusing to make fun of other cultures. We don't. Read the stories, ask questions, and remember that the person who wrote this story was altogether too human."
Lewis has also received criticism from Christians and Christian organizations who feel that The Chronicles of Narnia promotes "soft sell paganism and occultism", because of the recurring pagan themes and the supposedly heretical depictions of Christ as an anthropomorphic lion. Satyrs, fauns, centaurs, dwarves, giants, and even the pagan god Bacchus and the Maenads are depicted in a positive light, although they are distinctly pagan motifs. Even an animistic "River god" is portrayed in a positive light (Chattaway 2005), (Berit 2005). According to Josh Hurst of Christianity Today, "not only was Lewis hesitant to call his books Christian allegory, but the stories borrow just as much from pagan mythology as they do the Bible" (Hurst 2005).
Lewis himself believed that pagan mythology could act as a preparation for Christianity, both in history and in the imaginative life of an individual, and even suggested that modern man was in such a lamentable state that perhaps it was necessary "first to make people good pagans, and after that to make them Christians" (Lewis, Calabria & Moynihan 1998). He also argued that imaginative enjoyment of (as opposed to belief in) classical mythology has been a feature of Christian culture through much of its history, and that European literature has always had three themes: the natural, the supernatural believed to be true (Christianity) and the supernatural known to be imaginary (mythology).
The Narnian universe
Most of The Chronicles of Narnia take place in Lewis' constructed world of Narnia. The Narnian world itself is one world in a multiverse of countless worlds including our own. Passage between these worlds is possible, though rare, and may be accomplished in various fashions. Visitors to Narnia observe that the passage of time while they are away is unpredictable. For example, if one year had passed since one left Narnia and returned, a thousand years, or perhaps only a week, could have gone by in Narnia. Narnia itself is populated by a wide variety of creatures most of whom would be recognisable to those familiar with European mythologies and British fairy tales.
Lewis largely populates his stories with two distinct classes of inhabitants: people from our own world and creatures created by the character Aslan and the descendants of these creatures. This is typical of works that involve parallel universes. The majority of characters from our own world serve as the protagonists of the various books, however some are only mentioned in passing. Those inhabitants that Lewis creates through the character Aslan are viewed as either of wonderful variety or a confusing hodgepodge, depending on the reader. Lewis does not limit himself to a single source; instead he borrows from many sources and adds a few more of his own to the mix.
The Chronicles of Narnia describes the world in which Narnia exists as one major landmass faced by "the Great Eastern Ocean". This ocean contains the Seven Isles, Galma, Terebinthia and the Lone Islands which are visited in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". On the main landmass are the countries of Narnia, Archenland, Calormen, and Telmar, as well as a variety of other areas that play a part in the narrative but are not described as countries: The Western Wild, a mountainous place to the west of Narnia and Wildlands of the North. Lewis also provides glimpses of more fantastic locations that exist in and around the main world of Narnia, like the end of the Narnian world and the bottom of it.
Notably, Narnian geography is subject to the ravages of geological processes. In "Prince Caspian", the children return after an unknown period of time to discover that a river which they had known during "the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" had changed course, creating an island at its mouth, and deep gorges in its upper reaches.
There are several maps of the Narnia universe available, including what many consider the "official" one, a full-colour version published in 1972 by the books' illustrator, Pauline Baynes. This is currently out of print, although smaller copies can be found in the most recent HarperCollins 2006 hardcover edition of The Chronicles of Narnia. Two other maps have recently been produced following the popularity of the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. One, called the "Rose Map of Narnia," is based loosely on Baynes' map and has Narnia trivia and pro-Christian material printed on the reverse. Another map, done in a monochromatic, archaic style reminiscent of Tolkien's Middle-earth maps, is available in print and in an interactive version on the movie DVD. However, it depicts only Narnia and does not include the other countries in the Narnian universe.
A recurring plot device in The Chronicles is the interaction between the various worlds that make up the Narnian multiverse. A variety of devices are used to initiate these cross-overs which generally serve to introduce characters to the land of Narnia. The Cosmology of Narnia is not as internally consistent as that of Lewis contemporary Tolkien's Middle-earth, but works quite well given the more fairy tale atmosphere of the work. During the course of the series we learn, generally in passing, that the world of Narnia is flat, geocentric, has stars with a different makeup than our own, and that the passage of time does not correspond directly to the passage of time in our world. Michael Ward, in his book 'Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis' (Oxford University Press, 2008), argues that medieval cosmology gave Lewis his underlying plan for each book, the seven Chronicles corresponding to the seven planetary spheres of the pre-Copernican universe, about which Lewis wrote so extensively in his academic works.
Lewis takes us through the entire life of the world of Narnia, showing us the process by which it was created, snapshots of life in Narnia as the history of the world unfolds, and how Narnia is ultimately destroyed. Not surprisingly in a children's series, children, usually from our world, play a prominent role as all of these events unfold. The history of Narnia is generally broken up into the following periods: creation and the period shortly afterwards, the rule of the White Witch, the Golden Age, the invasion and rule of the Telmarines, their subsequent defeat by Caspian X, the rule of King Caspian and his descendants, and the destruction of Narnia. Like many stories, the narrative is not necessarily always presented in chronological order.