The Narnian

By Alan Jacobs


A journey into the imagination of C.S. Lewis explores the themes and life events that contributed to The Chronicles of Narnia, the most enduring classics of children’s literature

C.S. Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. Yet among his poetry, literary history and criticism, novels and Christian apologetics stands a unique, delightfully imaginative children’s series called The Chronicles of Narnia, which have become enduring classics. Alan Jacobs takes this imaginary world of Narnia and uses the themes and stories found within to explore the imaginative life of C.S. Lewis. Not just a conventional, straightforward biography of Lewis, Jacobs instead seeks a more elusive quarry: an understanding of the way Lewis’s experiences, both direct and literary, formed themselves into patterns—themes that then shaped his thought and writings, especially the stories of Narnia.

Praises & Awards


Frederick Buechner, author of Beyond Words

“It is hard to imagine a more insightful and even-handed treatment of the life and work of Lewis.”

Edward Mendelson, author of Early Auden and Later Auden

“A book about Lewis that will fascinate even those readers who think they aren’t interested in reading about him.”

Mary S. Lovell, acclaimed biographer and national bestselling author of The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

“An erudite and welcome addition to the C. S. Lewis canon.”

Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First Things

“The most influential Christian apologist of the last hundred years has found a worthy biographer.”

Charles Marsh, author of The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today

“This is the book on Lewis we’ve all been waiting for: probing, generous, lyrical and entertaining.”

Kirkus Reviews

“An amiable, uncluttered biography...”

Presbyterians Today

“...[B]est appreciated by the Narnia enthusiasts seeking to learn more about the man behind the stories.”

The Christian Science Monitor

“[Jacobs] provides excellent context by explaining authors and literature that influenced Lewis…his matter-of-fact approach is welcome.”


“The Narnian is thoughtful, intriguing and inspiring—a treasure for Narnia fans, as well as aficionados of fine biography.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Jacobs has written[...]not only a portrait of a dazzling writer but also a defense of Lewis as a seeker and thinker...”

Richard Jenkyns, The New Republic

“Jacobs provides a fluent and sensible re-telling of the main outlines of Lewis’s life...”

Books & Culture

“Combines fine scholarship with winsome writing . . . it is an important contribution.”

Christianity Today, (a CT Book Award winner)

“A deeply insightful yet broadly accessible intellectual biography, written in an engaging voice.”

Product Details

ISBN: 9780061448720

ISBN10: 0061448729

Imprint: HarperOne

On Sale: 04/01/2008

90 x 60mm

Pages: 392

List Price 14.99 USD



BISAC3: RELIGION / Christianity / Literature & the Arts