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Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis

by Matthew T. Dickerson and David O'Hara

Availablecloth$35.00s 978-0-8131-2522-0
Availableweb pdf$35.00s 978-0-8131-7319-1
Availableepub$35.00s 978-0-8131-3865-7
Culture of the Land
320 pages  Pubdate: 12/19/2008  6 x 9 x .9375  1

Scholars have discussed the work of C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) for decades, but they have focused on Lewis’s Christian and pagan allusions and have largely ignored his other important themes. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis is the first book dedicated to Lewis’s vision of our relationship to nature and the environment. Matthew T. Dickerson and David O’Hara examine The Chronicles of Narnia and the Ransom books, as well as The Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, and Lewis’s essays and personal correspondence, connecting his writing with that of authors more traditionally associated with environmentalism, such as Wendell Berry, Aldo Leopold, and Gary Snyder. Narnia and the Fields of Arbol offers a fresh way for readers across disciplines to understand the work of this literary legend.

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.

"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

“Shows the horror, environmental and moral, of separating the human from nature.” --Choice

“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