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EH 32 Through the Wardrobe Door:
The Fantasy and Science Fiction of C. S. Lewis
Interim 2005
Tuesday-Friday 1:00-4:00


C. S. Lewis: Mere Christianity; The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Magician's Nephew, The Last Battle; Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra


Students in this project will examine the ways in which one professor of English literature (C. S. Lewis) took the creation and redemption myths of the Christian tradition and used the popular fictional forms of fantasy and science fiction to re-mythologize them in 20th-century constructs. Part of this examination will include an overview of mythological narrative structures and an overview of Lewis's Christian theology. By the end of the term, students will have gained a feel for how closely religion and literature are connected and, perhaps more important, will have learned to apply the skills of close reading to both religious and literary texts.


We will meet four days a week for two hours per day of class discussion, which will be based on reading assignments and class presentations. The professor will make about half of the presentations, and the other half will be developed and delivered by student groups. Students should expect to prepare for these presentations during the evenings after class and the mornings before class. Each weekend, students will write a take-home unit examination (essay format) on the material discussed during the previous week. A schedule follows:
    1/3 Introduction to the novels and the novelist
    1/4 Mere Christianity
    1/6 The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

    1/11 Prince Caspian
    1/13 Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    1/18 The Magician's Nephew
    1/20 The Last Battle

    1/25 Out of the Silent Planet
    1/27 Perelandra

    1/31 Senior Presentations


Grading is S/U except for seniors, who will write a substantial documented paper of 20-25 pages and make a formal presentation on their research in addition to taking the exams. For non-seniors, a Satisfactory grade is the equivalent of a C or better on an average of the exam scores (80%) and class discussion (20%). For seniors, the grade is an average of the exam scores (20%), the paper (40%), the presentation (20%), and class discussion (20%).

John D. Tatter, Birmingham-Southern College,