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1001 Stories Collection

Chronicles of Narnia

Added on 13th July 2020

Author C.S. Lewis
Illustrator Pauline Baynes
First published 1950-56
Publisher Geoffrey Bles, and Bodley Head (now Harper Collins)

City of Stories Enchanted Library Action and adventure Family Magic
1001

A classic series of seven novels set in a magical fantasy land full of mythical creatures and talking animals, adventurous quests and epic battles.

Story

The four Pevensie children are sent to live at their uncle’s country house to escape the bombs of the Second World war. One rainy day, Lucy, the youngest, hides in a wardrobe and finds herself in a mysterious snowy wood where she meets a strange hoofed creature.

So begins The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first of The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels for children set in a magical realm of mythical beasts and talking animals, ruled by the lion Aslan. Together they tell the entire history of Narnia.

Why we chose it

The Chronicles of Narnia are exciting adventures set in an imaginative fantasy world that children can sometimes reach from our own. At their heart is an epic battle between good and evil, populated with memorable characters in vivid settings. Sometimes criticised for gender and racial stereotyping and their religious subtext, the stories continue to delight those who discover them as children, for whom the magic never seems to fade.

Where it came from

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first children’s book by Clive Staples Lewis. Born in Belfast in 1898, Lewis loved reading George Macdonald, Hans Christian Andersen and E Nesbit as a child and was fascinated by Celtic and Norse mythology. He studied classics and English literature at Oxford, where he became a Professor.

In 1939, three children were evacuated to Lewis’s home and he decided to write a fairy story. He began with an image that had popped into his head many years before, of a faun carrying parcels and an umbrella through a snowy wood. The book became popular and, encouraged by J R R Tolkien and other writer friends, Lewis continued the series.

Where it went next

The Chronicles of Narnia are known and loved across the world. They have sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages and inspired many other writers as well as numerous radio, television, film and stage adaptations.

Associated stories

The seven Chronicles are best read in the order in which Lewis wrote them: 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 and The Last Battle.

In the museum

Find Narnia stories in the Enchanted Library and in City of Stories.

Added on 13th July 2020

Author C.S. Lewis
Illustrator Pauline Baynes
First published 1950-56
Publisher Geoffrey Bles, and Bodley Head (now Harper Collins)

City of Stories Enchanted Library Action and adventure Family Magic
1001