A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis's Classic Story, By Leland Ryken and Marjorie Lamp Mead

A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe

Exploring C. S. Lewis's Classic Story

by Leland Ryken and Marjorie Lamp Mead

A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: August 26, 2005
  • Item Code: 3289
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3289-7

*affiliate partner

Step inside the wardrobe. . . . You may be surprised at what you find.

In C. S. Lewis's classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund discover Narnia for the first time, precariously navigating their way through the unpredictable, enchanted world where beavers talk, a Witch turns people to stone, and a Lion rules as King.

For decades their adventure has captivated the imagination of both children and adults. Yet this first story in the Chronicles--and the story behind the story--still hold many surprises and unpredictable twists and turns.

In this interactive, informative book, literary expert Leland Ryken and Lewis scholar Marjorie Lamp Mead unlock the door to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, inviting you to step inside--deeper and deeper, past the musty fur coats--and gaze in wide-eyed wonder once again at the magical, wintery world Lucy first found.

A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe helps you examine the story from Lewis's point of view, shedding light on his imagination and use of literary forms. Even further, Mead and Ryken serve as your guides through this first Narnia adventure, providing an inside look at characters, setting and framework. Here is a book that will help you see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Lucy first saw Narnia--with fresh, new eyes, childlike wonder and anticipation for the adventure that lies ahead.

"A practical guide to an adult reading of C. S. Lewis's classic without losing the wonder of a child. It is informative, wise, inspiring and rich with insights into the kind of receptive reading that Lewis passionately encouraged. Not only does this Reader's Guide show the way into Narnia, but also into great literature, and the inexhaustible nourishment that great books provide."

Colin Duriez, author of A Field Guide to Narnia, The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia and Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship

"A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe is that rare achievement: a literary guidebook that does not talk down to readers. It offers readable, informative help to adults who want to enjoy, understand and appreciate The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe fully as a literary work, not as a religious parable. Through detailed attention to structure, genres, techniques and themes, it shows how to read not just LWW but all works of fiction with sensitivity and insight."

Peter Schakel, author of Approaching Literature in the 21st Century

"This thorough, informative guide approaches C. S. Lewis's classic story the way Lewis himself read literary texts. It shows readers how to fully engage the narrative as thoughtful adults, while retaining a child's sense of wonder and delight."

David C. Downing, author of The Most Reluctant Convert and Into the Wardrobe

"This Reader's Guide is the most thorough literary study of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that I have ever read. It is a must for every serious student of Lewis's first Narnian Chronicle and a gateway to the entire series."

Dr. Paul F. Ford, author of Companion to Narnia and Pocket Companion to Narnia

Ryken and Mead have written a comprehensive study of Lewis's masterpiece while keeping the magic of the story alive.

Mary Lou Henneman, Congregational Libraries Today, January/February 2008

As a tool for use with a wide range of classes, in Christian colleges and elsewhere, it could hardly be bettered.

Stratford Caldecott, The Chesterton Review



Part 1: A Guided Tour of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
1. Lucy Looks into the Wardrobe: How the Story Begins
2. What Lucy Found There: Discovering More About the Strange World
3. Edmund and the Wardrobe: Characterization
4. Turkish Delight: Archetypes
5. Back on This Side of the Door: How Real Is Narnia?
6. Into the Forest: Worldmaking and the Storyteller's Art
7. A Day with the Beavers: The Good Place Motif
8. What Happened After Dinner: Images of Good
9. In the Witch's House: Images of Evil
10. The Spell Begins to Break: What Readers Like Best in a Story
11. Aslan Is Nearer: The Dynamics of the Plot
12. Peter's First Battle: The Romance Genre
13. Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time: The Uses of Magic
14. The Triumph of the Witch: Parallels to the Passion Story
15. Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time: The Genre of Fairy Tale
16. What Happened About the Statues: The Role of Myth
17. The Hunting of the White Stag: The Happy Ending as Narrative Pattern and Spiritual Reality
18. Retrospective: Putting It All Together
Photo Section

Part 2: Narnian Backgrounds
19. How the Narnian Books Came to Be
20. Reception History of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
21. The Christian Vision of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
22. A Brief Biography of C. S. Lewis

Appendix: What Is the Correct Order in Which to Read the Chronicles of Narnia?

Recommended Reading List


Acknowledgments and Permissions



You May Also Like

Leland Ryken

Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) is Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of more than one hundred published articles and essays, and he has written, edited, or contributed to more than twenty-five books. His books include The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation (Crossway), The Christian Imagination: The Practice of Faith in Literature and Writing (Shaw), Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (InterVarsity Press), The Discerning Reader: Christian Perspectives on Literature and Theory (Baker), and A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Zondervan).

Marjorie Lamp Mead

Marjorie Lamp Mead (M.A., Wheaton College) has been associate director of the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, since 1977. She is editor (with Clyde S. Kilby) of Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis and (with Lyle W. Dorsett) of C. S. Lewis: Letters to Children. She has also written many articles and contributed numerous chapters to books--primarily on topics related to C. S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers. She is managing editor of Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review.