One of the literary events of 1950 in England was the publication of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first in the series of the fantasy books for children by Clive Staples Lewis, an Oxford Don who was until then known as a writer of splendid literary criticism and apologetics. It is not strange in England that a learned man should write for children, as many of the great English children's books, especially in the field of fantasy, have been written by men who were distinguished in other fields than children's literature. For example, Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice-books, was in private life The Reverend Charles Dodgson, a professor of mathematics at Oxford; and Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows, held an important office in the Bank of England. It is generally thought that the sense of individualism among the English has made it easy and natural for them to regard children as individuals, important as such, not as miniature adults. For this reason the English are perhaps the best school masters in the world and can also produce excellent children's books.
In each succeeding year C. S. Lewis wrote a new book on the imaginary land of Narnia. For the seventh, The Last Battle (1956), but actually for the whole series, Lewis was awarded in 1956 the Library Association Carnegie Medal. The Carnegie Medal is annually given for "an outstanding book for children by a British subject domiciled in the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) published during the preceding year." From this starting point I wish to find Lewis's place in the tradition of children's literature, to seek what has contributed to the special quality of his books, what makes them good and valuable to the whole field of literature.
Because C. S. Lewis has in his literary criticism often pointed to children's literature, both before and after writing such literature himself, it is interesting to parallel the theory and practice of Lewis in this question. Because the fairy tale is one of the less studied literary genres and because children's literature is a fairly new branch in literature as a whole, I feel it necessary to deal with some of the problems which have importance in studying Lewis's Narnia fairy tales.
(A part of my master's thesis.)
Nimeni on Anna Amnell, ja minulla on kaksi blogia Narnia-kirjoista, -elokuvista ja C. S. Lewisista. Ne perustuvat suurelta osalta yliopistolliseen gradu-tutkimukseen, jonka tein Helsingin Yliopistossa englantilaiseen filologiaan vuonna 1971.