Clive Staples Lewis, commonly known as C.S. Lewis, was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1898. He was a novelist, poet, lecturer, and lay THEOLOGIAN – a person who had not received formal theological or religious training. He is best known for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Space Trilogy (which includes Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and The HIDEOUS Strength), and The CHRONICLES of Narnia.
Spell: THEOLOGIAN HIDEOUS CHRONICLES
What was CS Lewis’ first name? CLIVE
Where was C.S. Lewis born? BELFAST, IRELAND
Name an occupation of CS Lewis. NOVELIST, POET, LECTURER, THEOLOGIAN
Besides The Chronicles of Narnia, name another famous work of fiction by C.S. Lewis. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, THE SPACE TRILOGY
What’s another word for hideous? AWFUL, HORRIBLE, UGLY
How old would he be if he were still alive today? (2018 – 1898 = 120)
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven FANTASY novels for children and is considered a classic of children’s LITERATURE. Written between 1949 and 1954, the series has sold over 100 million copies and has been translated into 47 different languages. The Chronicles have been adapted, both complete or in excerpts, several times for radio, TV, the theatre, or movies. Lewis found his inspiration from several sources when writing these books and explored themes not typically captured in children’s literature, such as religion, race, and GENDER.
Spell: FANTASY LITERATURE GENDER
How many books are in The Chronicles series? 7
How many millions of copies of The Chronicles of Narnia have been sold? OVER 100
Over the course of how many years did CS Lewis write the Chronicles of Narnia? 1954 – 1949 = 5 YEARS.
Name one unexpected theme that Lewis touched on in his books. RELIGION, RACE, GENDER
What is meant by saying the Chronicles of Narnia are considered a “classic”?
The Lion, the Witch, and the WARDROBE were the first in the series, and although published in 1950, C. S. Lewis had actually begun piecing the story together long before that. The tales of ancient myths his Irish nurse told him always fascinated him, and when he was sixteen, a picture of a FAUN (a man with a goat’s horns, ears, legs, and tail) carrying PARCELS and an umbrella in snowy woods popped into his head. Years later, during World War II, four children stayed with Lewis at his country house and stirred his imagination again. Not long afterward, he began writing the story that would become The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Spell: WARDROBE FAUN PARCELS
What is a faun? A MAN WITH A GOAT’S LEGS, HORNS, TAIL, AND EARS
Where was Lewis’ nurse from? IRELAND
What did his nurse tell him? ANCIENT MYTHS
What’s another word for “parcels?” PACKAGES, BUNDLES
What major event was going on in the world when C.S. Lewis began to write The Chronicles of Narnia at his boyhood home? WORLD WAR II
The word “wardrobe” has two meanings. Tell me one. Do you know which meaning it has in Lewis’ book? (A TALL CABINET FOR STORING CLOTHES*; A PERSON’S ENTIRE CLOTHING COLLECTION)
While writing, Lewis INCORPORATED creatures from myths along with his own memories—such as that of the old wardrobe* from his childhood. As the children in his book found their way into
NARNIA, he was still unsure of what his complete story would be about. Then the image of ASLAN, the “Great Lion,” came to him.
Lewis once said, “I don’t know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together.” Aslan is the only character to appear in all seven books.
Spell: INCORPORATED NARNIA
What did Lewis incorporate into his stories? CREATURES FROM MYTHS, MEMORIES FROM HIS CHILDHOOD, THE WARDROBE
What is the name of the Great Lion in the series? ASLAN
Tell me something unique about the character of Aslan. THE ONLY CHARACTER WHO IS IN ALL SEVEN BOOKS
C.S. Lewis’s early childhood was relatively happy and carefree. Northern Ireland was not yet PLAGUED by bitter civil strife in those days, and the Lewises were comfortably off. The family home, called LITTLE LEA, was a large, GABLED house with dark, narrow passages and an overgrown garden, which Lewis and his brother Warren played in and explored together. There was also a library that was crammed with books. Two of Lewis’ favorites were Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Spell: PLAGUED GABLED
What was the name of Lewis’ sibling? WARREN
What was the name of his family home? LITTLE LEA
Name one of C.S. Lewis’ favorite boyhood books. TREASURE ISLAND, THE SECRET GARDEN
What does the phrase “the Lewises were comfortably off” mean?
This somewhat IDYLLIC boyhood came to an end after two tragic losses. First, his beloved family dog, Jacksie, died after being hit by a car, and CS Lewis insisted on being called “Jacksie,” although he eventually settled for “Jack.” Then his mother became ill and died of cancer in 1908. Barely a month after her death, the two boys were sent away from home to go to boarding school in ENGLAND. Lewis hated the school, with its strict rules and hard, unsympathetic headmaster, and he missed Belfast terribly. Fortunately for him, the school closed in 1910, and he was able to return to Ireland.
Spell: IDYLLIC ENGLAND
What happened that changed Lewis’ childhood? MOM DIED, DOG DIED.
What name did CS Lewis go by for the rest of his life after his dog died? JACK
Why did Lewis hate his first boarding school in England? STRICT RULES, HARD/UNSYMPATHETIC HEADMASTER
How many years was he away at boarding school? 1910 – 1908 = 2
After one year back in Ireland, however, he was sent back to England to study again. This time, the experience proved to be mostly positive. As a teenager, Lewis learned to love POETRY, especially the works of VIRGIL and HOMER. He also developed an interest in modern languages, mastering French, German, and
Name a language other than English that C.S. Lewis was a master of. FRENCH, GERMAN, ITALIAN
Name a poet he was a fan of. VIRGIL, HOMER
Would you like to learn a foreign language? If so, what?
As a boy, Lewis was fascinated with anthropomorphic animals; he was first inspired by the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, and so he wrote and ILLUSTRATED his own animal stories. He and his brother created an entire world called BOXEN, filled with and run by animals. ANTHROPOMORPHISM, or personification, is when you attribute a human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being. In children’s literature, animals, such as Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, exhibit various levels of anthropomorphism, from talking or thinking like a human to wearing clothes and riding bicycles.
Spell: ILLUSTRATED PERSONIFICATION
Which story by Beatrix Potter inspired Jack’s love of anthropomorphic animals? THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
What is the name for attributing a human form or other characteristic to something other than a human? ANTHROPOMORPHISM
Give me an example of anthropomorphism. If you were an anthropomorphic animal which animal would you be?
What human attributes would you have? Why?
Creative Writing: Each book, or chronicle, stands alone, but together they tell the entire history of a fantastic world that becomes as real as your own. A world of magic and adventure—a place in which children’s imaginations know no bounds. If you could walk through a magic wardrobe and come out into your own fantasy world, what would it be like? Who would be there? What would you do?