IVP: How did your intended audience and approach change as you wrote A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe?
Leland Ryken: My initial interest in writing about The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was as a professional teacher of
literature and reader who would bring sophisticated literary awareness to the
story. But it gradually dawned on me that an adult who is rereading The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, perhaps for the benefit of children or
grandchildren, needs to respond to the story as a child as well as an adult.
C.S. Lewis himself said that fairy stories and children's books need to be read
on two levels--the simple and the sophisticated. We hope to help adults
appreciate both levels in this reader's guide.
IVP: How should readers approach this reader's guide?
Ryken: This reader's guide is not a book of plot summary. It is, however, a guide--a book that provides the best possible avenues by which readers can perform their own analysis of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Our guide is a book about how to read, interpret and fully appreciate The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for oneself.
IVP: What can readers expect to take away from A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe?
Ryken: The guide will have achieved its purpose if readers carry away an enriched experience of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis once said that a poet is a person who says, "Look at that!" and points. Our guide has attempted to say, "Look at that!" in regard to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
IVP: What should readers, and soon moviegoers, keep in mind about C.S. Lewis and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
Ryken: Readers and viewers need first to relish the narrative and literary qualities of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Having experienced the narrative delights of the text, readers and viewers can then explore the deeper religious meanings that are embedded in this classic piece of children's literature.