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Why CS Lewis stopped writing Narnia books – NarniaWeb

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Have you ever wished for more books on Narnia? If so, you are not alone.

It seems readers have longed for more Chronicles of Narnia since The last battle has been published. But although CS Lewis originally had no plans as to how many books there would be in the series, his letters suggest he concluded his work was finished after seven entries.

The order in which Lewis wrote the books is neither the order in which they were published, nor the order in which they are currently numbered. The first book to be written (and published) was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

When i wrote [The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe] I didn’t know I was going to write more. Then i wrote [Prince Caspian] like a sequel and I still didn’t think there would be more, and when I finished [The Voyage of the Dawn Treader] I was sure it would be the last. But I found out I was wrong.

CS Lewis, 1957

But in 1953, Lewis seems to have already set himself on seven as the final number of the chronicles: “the [Voyage of the] ‘Dawn Treader’ is not be the last: there must be 4 more, 7 in all. He reiterates this figure in September of the same year, “There must be 7 Narnian stories in total”, and makes similar statements in at least two letters the following year.

Lewis gave a fuller explanation in correspondence with a reader:

“I’m afraid there aren’t any more. You see, once a story stops telling in my head, like a shut off tap, I can’t go on. And if I tried, it would only seem forced. Either way, seven is a good number.

CS Lewis, 1959

Although Lewis had no plans to write an eighth Narnia novel, he left the door open for readers to imagine other stories. In response to letters from children, Lewis wrote:

“But I’m afraid there aren’t any more of those stories. But why not you try to write Narnian tales? “

CS Lewis, 1961

“I’m afraid I’ve said everything I have to say about Narnia, and there won’t be any more of these stories.” But why don’t you try to write one yourself? “

CS Lewis, 1962

In another letter in 1962, Lewis again claims that he is done, but that more stories are waiting to be written:

And why not write some stories for yourself to fill in the gaps in Narnia’s story? I left you plenty of clues, especially where Lucy * and the Unicorn are talking The last battle. I feel I I did all I could!

CS Lewis, 1962

* Here Lewis may have been referring to the Chapter 8 conversation between Jill and Bijou.

While Lewis wrote Narnia Poems and Timeline that have since been published in books, Lewis never wrote another Narnia novel. Instead, others continued to build on the Narnian mythos through fan fiction, storytelling, spinoffs, and, of course, adaptations.

  1. CS Lewis, CS Lewis: Letters to Children, ed. Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 68.
  2. Lewis, 31 years old.
  3. Lewis, 34 years old.
  4. Lewis, 39 years old.
  5. Lewis, 42 years old.
  6. Chronicles of Narnia audio drama, directed by Paul McCusker, hosted by Douglas Gresham (Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family Radio Theater / Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 2014), disc 3, track 9 on The last battle, CD.
  7. CS Lewis, CS Lewis: Letters to Children, ed. Lyle W. Dorsett and Marjorie Lamp Mead (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 101.
  8. Lewis, 99 years old.
  9. Lewis, 104.
  10. CS Lewis, The Last Battle (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 109-110.

Sources