Song, Sword, and Sign: the Power of Beauty in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia
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The work of British writer C.S. Lewis occupies a unique position at the cross-section of fantasy, philosophy, and literary scholarship. Whether science fiction, apologetics, or children’s literature, Lewis’s books are all united by an underlying theme: transcendent beauty. This thesis will explore the idea of Beauty as it is conveyed in Lewis’s best-known works, The Chronicles of Narnia. It will examine two possible methods of the manifestation of beauty in literature – form and substance – and how Lewis fulfills them through philosophy, linguistics, and literary technique. What makes his work ring with the beauty of a world beyond? How does Lewis craft literature that contains more than, as he wrote in A Preface to Paradise Lost, mere “ebullient patches of delight” while still encapsulating what Plato described as the power of the True taking refuge in the Beautiful? The results will elucidate the story behind the latent power of Beauty in Lewis’s writing, indicate his proposed response to the encounter with beauty, and demand that contemporary scholarship continues to recognize the power of language to convey truth through fictional literature.
Salinas, Anna Marie (2015). Song, Sword, and Sign: the Power of Beauty in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from