Dr. Michael Ward's book, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, has been released from Oxford University Press. Dr. Ward will be speaking at my school in February; an official inviation will follow soon. In the meanwhile, you can view his tour schedule and read about the book here. I'm reading the book now, and a full review will follow shortly. For now, here are some thoughts, which I'm posting around the web to help hustle the excitment along.
I heard Dr. Ward speak back in the summer of 2006, and I was instantly both a fan and a skeptic. His theory about the reason for seven Chronicles of Narnia is fascinating, beautiful, and—so I thought—implausible. But since Dr. Ward was a very compelling speaker (and he’s coming to speak at the school where I teach; see his tour schedule at www.planetnarnia.com ), I bought the book and am in chapter four at the moment. Wow! I’m more a fan than ever, and barely a skeptic. I’ve come to the conclusion (like Jim Como) that if Dr. Ward is wrong, it doesn’t even matter, because his reading is completely lovely, plausible, useful, scholarly, thorough, and everything else a critic’s reading can be. But it’s more, too. It seems that he is inside of C. S. Lewis’s head, thinking CSL’s thoughts after him (if that’s not sacrilegious!), quoting from all CSL’s works as glibly and facilely as if he wrote them (or more; CSL was notoriously forgetful of his own writings, though of nobody else’s), tying together disparate elements with ease and grace. His memory is prodigious, his scholarship impeccible, his writing clear and organized, his case lively and delightful. If Narnia needed any boost in popularity or any raising in the academic mind, here it is!