Best Years Home
Mike's Midlife Story
More Free Columns
Links Page
Friends of Best Years
About Mike
Old Stuff
A Celebration of Joy: Christian Romanticism in the Chronicles of Narnia, by Mike Bellah
Abstract and Table of Contents
Introduction
Definitions
Myth and Imagination
Children's Stories
The Ideal Reader
Fantasy and Realism
Friendships: Love in Narnia
Quest and Adventure
The Eucatastrophe
Romanticism in the Chronicles
The Failure of Romanticism
The Triumph of Chrisitian Romanticism
The Baptized Imagination
Works Cited
 
A CELEBRATION OF JOY:
CHRISTIAN ROMANTICISM IN THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA

by

Michael Dean Bellah
 
 

A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
MASTER OF ARTS
Major Subject: English
 
 

West Texas A&M University
Canyon, Texas
February 1995
 
 

ABSTRACT

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the 20th century's most erudite and prolific scholars. A professor of English by vocation and a Christian apologist by avocation, Lewis produced a voluminous amount of works widely read some thirty years after his death. Among the most popular of these are The Chronicles of Narnia, seven tales of childhood fantasy and adventure. Yet the Chronicles are more than just children's stories; they are Lewis's most succinct vision of his most important philosophy: Christian romanticism.

This thesis examines Christian romanticism in the Chronicles. Lewis's unique success centers on his ability to blend Christianity and romanticism, each influencing the other, with the result that both are better for it. Romanticism retains its passion without drowning in its own intensity, and Christianity regains a robustness that pronounces human desire good. The theological result is a Christian faith that is life-affirming instead of life-denying. The emotional result is nothing less than celebration, a celebration of joy.
 
 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am profoundly grateful to Dr. Charmazel Dudt for directing this thesis and to Dr. Sue Park who was the second reader. Each has made unique contributions to my education which I will carry with me always.

This thesis is affectionately dedicated to my children: Janet, Jon, Josh, Joni, and Jeremy through whose eyes I first entered the magical land of Narnia.
 
 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

II. DEFINITIONS

III. MYTH AND IMAGINATION

IV. CHILDREN'S STORIES

V. THE IDEAL READER

VI. FANTASY AND REALISM

VII. FRIENDSHIPS--LOVE IN NARNIA

VIII. QUEST AND ADVENTURE

IX. THE EUCATASTROPHE

X. ROMANTICISM IN THE CHRONICLES

Nature

The senses

Imagination and feelings

Man

Good and evil

Grace

Music and dance

Pleasure in the routine

Tradition

The numinous

Ultimate joy

XI. THE FAILURE OF ROMANTICISM

XII. THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIAN ROMANTICISM

XIII. THE BAPTIZED IMAGINATION

WORKS CITED
 

Respond to my thesis. I'd like to hear from you.