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December 19, 2008
9780813125220
English
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v2.1 Reference

Narnia and the Fields of Arbol

The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis

The remarkable breadth of C. S. Lewis's (1898–1963) work is nearly as legendary as the fantastical tales he so inventively crafted. A variety of themes emerge in his literary output, which spans the genres of nonfiction, fantasy, science fiction, and children's literature, but much of the scholarship examining his work focuses on religion or philosophy. Overshadowed are Lewis's views on nature and his concern for environmental stewardship, which are present in most of his work. In Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis, authors Matthew Dickerson and David O'Hara illuminate this important yet overlooked aspect of the author's visionary work. Dickerson and O'Hara go beyond traditional theological discussions of Lewis's writing to investigate themes of sustainability, stewardship of natural resources, and humanity's relationship to wilderness. The authors examine the environmental and ecological underpinnings of Lewis's work by exploring his best-known works of fantasy, including the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the three novels collectively referred to as the Space Trilogy. Taken together, these works reveal Lewis's enduring environmental concerns, and Dickerson and O'Hara offer a new understanding of his pioneering style of fiction. An avid outdoorsman, Lewis deftly combined an active imagination with a deep appreciation for the natural world. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, the first book-length work on the subject, explores the marriage of Lewis's environmental passion with his skill as a novelist and finds the author's legacy to have as much in common with the agrarian environmentalism of Wendell Berry as it does with the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien. In an era of increasing concern about deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues, Lewis's work remains as pertinent as ever. The widespread adaption of his work in film lends credence to the author's staying power as an influential voice in both fantastical fiction and environmental literature. With Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, Dickerson and O'Hara have written a timely work of scholarship that offers a fresh perspective on one of the most celebrated authors in literary history.

About the Authors

Matthew T. Dickerson is professor of environmental studies and computer science at Middlebury College, author of Ents, Elves, and Eriador: The Environmental Vision of J. R. R. Tolkien,Following Gandalf: Epic Battles and Moral Victory in The Lord of the Rings and The Finnsburg Encounter, and coeditor of From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy. David O'Hara is assistant professor of philosophy and instructor in classical Greek at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is coeditor of From Homer to Harry Potter: A Handbook on Myth and Fantasy.

Reviews

"The authors make their case in depth, revealing not only a detailed knowledge of Lewis's fiction, but extensive familiarity with the critical literature surrounding it, as well as environmental literature in general. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol is both revelatory and a pleasure to read.—Robert Siegel"

"This is an insightful and timely study of a significant but relatively neglected aspect of C. S. Lewis's fiction.—Sanford Schwartz, author of The Matrix of Modernism: Pound, Eliot, and Early Twentieth Century Thought"

"Narnia and the Fields of Arbol is a splendid book. Insightful and well-written, based on a close and careful reading of Lewis' fantasy literature, this volume clearly illustrates, as the subtitle puts it, the environmental vision of C.S. Lewis. It also demonstrates how authentic Christian faith is an ally, not an enemy, of creation care. — Steven Bouma-Prediger, author of For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care"

"Dickerson and O'Hara demonstrate convincingly that environmental themes play a much larger role in Lewis's thought than has so far been recognized. And they show that Lewis's "environmental vision" — especially as expressed in his fiction — can contribute to our current conversation more than today's environmentalists have suspected. This is a fine addition to Lewis studies that also enriches our understanding of how to care for our world. — Alan Jacobs, author of The Narnian: the Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis"

"Dickerson and O'Hara demonstrate how one man, well before the fad, established his own code of ethics "in which nature is enchanted by something that transcends nature and provides a transcendent morality, in which exploiting the earth, the water, or our fellow creatures is not merely inconvenient but morally wrong." Recommended for all libraries.—Charles C. Nash, Library Journal"

"We happily suggest the brand new Matthew Dickerson and David L. O-Hara [book] for your consideration.—HOT001"

"Narnia and the Fields of Arbol shows that Lewis's writings . . . can lead the way for both Christian and secular environmentalists.—Ryder W. Miller, Rain Taxi"

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"Shows the horror, environmental and moral, or separating the human from nature."—Choice

"The book defends "a certain Christian view of ecology." This defense is for ecologically disengaged Christians fond of Lewis and for non-Christians who care about ecology but blame Christianity for our environmental problems."—The Review of Politics

"Their book nicely balances the environmental vision of C.S. Lewis, including over thirty of his writings in the discussion, with their ongoing discussion of the role of stories to impress moral and spiritual values to readers and listeners."—Mythlore

9780813125220 : narnia-and-the-fields-of-arbol-dickerson-ohara
Hardback
320 Pages
$70.00 USD

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