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Interdisciplinary Studies 480

Fall 2010
IS 480, Special Topic:
Story Telling and Biblical Motifs
in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia

1 credit hr.
Monday 7-8 p.m. (Beginning Sept. 13, 2010)
Belk 304

Don W. King: Home page
Phone 828-545-3293 


Course Description: This special course will focus upon the seven books in C. S. Lewis's the Chronicles of Narnia with an emphasis upon the storytelling techniques and key biblical motifs Lewis uses. In addition to class discussions and small group discussions, portions of several recent videos highlighting the Chronicles of Narnia will be viewed and discussed.


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle

Course Objective: The movie release of the third chronicle, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, will be on Dec. 10, 2010. This course seeks to capture the great interest and attention the movie release will generate in order to help students understand and appreciate both the literary qualities and theological insights that undergird the seven books that comprise the Chronicles of Narnia (Montreat College Educational Objectives IV, 1, 2, 3, and 7).

In addition, there are several questions that we will consider as we work through the course, including but not limited to the following:

  1. How does Lewis's early and voluminous reading impact his imagination? In addition, what common storytelling motifs, devices, ideas, and archtypal characters influence his created worlds (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?

  2. How might his work as an apologist inform the creation of Narnia (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?

  3. How pivotal is a knowledge of Scripture when reading, analyzing, and interpreting
    the Narnia stories? What "view" of Scripture does Lewis hold? Which biblical texts most inform the world of Narnia (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?


  4. In what ways are fairytales, fantasies, or works of science fiction valuable forms of literature (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)?

  5. In what ways do the ideas of creation, the fall, redemption, and restoration inform a reading of the Narnia stories (MCEO 1c, 1d, 1e, 1g)

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will read, discuss, and analyze the seven Chronicles of Narnia (MCEO 2 and 3).

  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of Lewis's use of literary devices and techniques in his creation of the Chronicles of Narnia (MCEO 2 and 3).

  3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of key biblical motifs undergirding the Chronicles of Narnia.

  4. Students will post regular journaling assignments based on their reading to the college's online learning platform, Moodle (MCEO 2 and 3).

  5. Students will complete a creative project (MCEO 2 and 3).

  6. Students will write one book review concerning either the Chronicles of Narnia or Lewis as a storyteller (MCEO 2 and 3).

  7. Students will learn to value the literature covered in this course as something that can enrich your life, revealing the complexity of the human experience and informing your spiritual life (MCEO 2, 3, and 4).

    Course Outline:

    Sept. 13 (7-9 p.m.)   Course Introduction and Overview of Lewis's Life

    Sept. 20 (7-9 p.m.)   Overview of Lewis's writings; The Creation of Narnia

    Sept. 27  An Overview of Storytelling Devices and Biblical Motifs in Narnia

    Oct. 4     The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Part 1; optional viewing of LWW

    Oct. 11   The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Part 2

    Oct. 18   Prince Caspian; optional viewing of Prince Caspian

    Oct. 25   The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; Part 1

    Nov. 1    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; Part 2

    Nov. 8    The Silver Chair

    Nov. 15  The Horse and His Boy

    Nov. 22  The Magician's Nephew

    Nov. 30  The Last Battle

    Dec. 6    Presentation of Creative Projects

    Dec. 10  Required Viewing of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    Dec. 13  Creative Projects and Course Wrap


  1. You are required to make weekly journal postings about your reading, thinking, viewing, and discussing course material. Your journal postings must be done via Moodle. Journal postings will count 60% of your final grade.

  2. You are required to write one book review of any book listed on the course bibliography (see below); the book review will count 20% of your final grade. Due by midnight Oct. 17, 2010, via email attachment.

  3. You will develop a creative project based upon your personal reaction to anything we have studied throughout the semester.  I prefer that this project be creative in whatever fashion you are creative.  For example, in the past students have put on skits, built or baked various things, written songs, done videotape or computer presentations, painted pictures, sculpted figures, done needlepoint, conducted interviews, written satires, and so on.  “The sky’s the limit” but
    you should check out your idea with me before you begin.  Group projects are possible but need to be approved by me. The project will count 10% of your final grade and must be presented in front of the class on or before the last regular class meeting.


  4. The remaining 10% will come from in class essays, your class participation, discussion, quizzes, regular attendance, homework, reserve and supplemental reading, group work and various short writing assignments.

There are a total of 500 pts possible in the course. Final grades will be compiled using the following guidelines:

500-450    A to A-
449-400      B+ to B-
399-350      C+ to C-
349-300      D+ to D-
299-0          F

Bibliography: The following journals may be helpful: Mythlore, The Bulletin of the New York C. S. Lewis Society, The Chronicle of the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society, The Canadian C. S. Lewis Journal, SEVEN: An Anglo-American Literary Review, Chronicle of the Portland C. S. Lewis Society, Lamp-Post of the Southern California C. S. Lewis Society, and The Lewis Legacy. The two major collections of Lewis material are located at the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and at the Department of Western Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, England.

In addition to many of the books listed below that are on three-day reserve, the library (or the MCLN) holds other journals that may be of help in doing research for this course. Of much interest to you, however, will be the multiple resources available via electronic databases, especially JSTOR.

C. S. Lewis & the Inklings Resources: http://cslewisblog.com/ 
Into the Wardrobe: A C. S. Lewis Website: http://cslewis.drzeus.net/
The Chronicles of Narnia: http://www.narniaweb.com/
The Magic Never Ends (see http://www.crouseentertainment.com/.
The Life of C. S. Lewis (see http://www.rbc.org/radio-tv/day-of-discovery/2008/04/20/program.aspx; also write Beth Guthrie at bguthrie@rbc.org).
Shadowlands (the 1983 BBC version; see http://www.episcopalmedia.org/).
Books about Lewis’ life:
Como, James T. C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences. New York: Macmillan, 1979.
Davidman, Joy. Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman. Ed. by Don W. King. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.
Green, Roger Lancelyn, and Walter Hooper. C. S. Lewis: A Biography. London: Collins, 1974.
Gresham, Douglas. Jack’s Life: A Memoir of C. S. Lewis. New York: Broadman Holman: 2005.
Jacobs, Alan. The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.
King, Don W. Hunting the Unicorn: A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2008.
Lewis, C. S. All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis. Ed. by Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1991.
-----------. Boxen: The Imaginary World of the Young C. S. Lewis. Edited by Walter Hooper. London: Collins, 1985. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.
-----------. Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume 1: Family Letters 1905-1931. Edited by Walter Hooper. London: Harper Collins, 2000; Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 2 : Books, Broadcasts and the War, 1931-1949:2004; Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950-1963: 2006.
-----------. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955.
Lewis, Warren. Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis. Eds. Clyde S. Kilby and Marjorie Lamp Mead. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982. 
Poe, Harry Lee, and Rebecca W. Poe. C. S. Lewis Remembered: Collected Reflections of Students, Friends, and Colleagues. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
Sayer, George. Jack: C. S. Lewis and His Times. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988. Revised, Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994.

Books on Narnia:
Brown, Devin. Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005.
---------------. Inside Prince Caspian: A Guide to Exploring the Return to Narnia. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008.
---------------. Inside the Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A Guide to Exploring the Journey beyond Narnia. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010.
Ditchfield, Christin. A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2003.
Downing, David. Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.
Ford, Paul. A Companion to Narnia. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994.
Hooper, Walter. Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnian Chronicles of C. S. Lewis. New York: Collier, 1979.
Karkainen, Paul. Narnia Explored: The Real Meaning behind C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1979.
Lindskoog, Kathryn. The Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land: The Theology of C. S. Lewis Expressed in his Fantasies for Children. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973.
Manlove. Colin. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Patterning of a Fantastic World. New York: Twayne, 1993.
Schakel, Peter. Imagination and the Arts in C. S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds.  Columbia, Missouri:  University of Missouri Press, 2002.
---------------. Reading with the Heart: The Way into Narnia. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
Ryken, Leland and Marjorie Lamp Mead. A Reader’s Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis’s Classic Story. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.
----------------. A Reader's Guide to Caspian: A Journey in C. S. Lewis's Narnia. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008.
Vaus, Will. The Hidden Story of Narnia: A Book-By-Book Guide to C. S. Lewis’ Spiritual Themes. Cheshire, CT: Winged Lion Press, 2010.
Ward, Michael. Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Other helpful books:
Adey, Lionel. C. S. Lewis: Writer, Dreamer, & Mentor. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Dorsett, Lyle. Seeking the Secret Places: The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2004.
Edwards, Bruce, Ed. C. S. Lewis—Life, Works, and Legacy. 4 vols. Westport, CN: Praeger, 2007.
Glyer, Diana. The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2007.
Hooper, Walter.  C. S. Lewis:  A Companion and Guide.  London:  HarperCollins, 1996.
Howard, Thomas. The Achievement of C. S. Lewis: A Reading of His Fiction. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1980.
Kilby, Clyde. The Christian World of C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964.
King, Don. C. S. Lewis, Poet: The Legacy of His Poetic Impulse. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2001.
Kort, Wesley A. C. S. Lewis: Then and Now. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.
Lindsley, Art. C. S. Lewis’ Case for Christ: Insight from Reason, Imagination and Faith. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.
Martindale, Wayne. Beyond the Shadowlands: C. S. Lewis on Heaven and Hell. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005.
Menuge, Angus, Ed. C. S. Lewis: Lightbearer in the Shadowlands: The Evangelistic Vision of C. S. Lewis. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997.
Mills, David, Ed. The Pilgrims' Guide: C. S. Lewis and the Art of Witness. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Nicholi, Armand M. The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life. New York: Free Press, 2002.
Payne, Leann. Real Presence: The Christian Worldview of C. S. Lewis as Incarnational Reality. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1988.
Phemister, Mary Anne, and Andrew Lazo. Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.
Schultz, Jeffrey D. and John G. West, Eds. The C. S. Lewis Readers' Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
Van Leeuwen, Mary Stewart. A Sword Between the Sexes? C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2010.
Vaus, Will. Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

In addition, the summer 1998 and summer 2007 issues of The Christian Scholar's Review are devoted to Lewis.

Academic Integrity: For all individual assignments students are expected to present their own work; documentation of research for your literary analysis must follow the specific criteria as outlined in the MLA Handbook for Writer of Research Paper or The Columbia Guide to Online Style second edition. Cases of academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in either of failure of the assignment or of the course.  For the college's policy on this issue, please click academic integrity

Final Comments:This syllabus and other details about the course, including your grades for the course, are available through the college's online platform, Moodle. Please email me at dking@montreat.edu if you need help with any aspect of the course.

I reserve the right to make minor changes to the syllabus and course requirements as we move through the semester.

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