Preface by Elizabeth Baird Hardy
Preface hose of us who have paid repeat visits to C.S. Lewis's Narnia probably feel that we know that country well. We imagine we could easily navigate our way from the lamp post of Lantern Waste to the gates of Cair Paravel on the eastern seashore. We think we know the taste of Mrs. Beaver's marmalade roll, the feel of the prickly branches just inside the wardrobe, or the sound of fauns' hooves on snow. Whether we have read the books for scholarship or sheer pleasure, or, as Lewis read his favorite books, both for enjoy- ment and academic pursuit, we feel confident in our travels. It is thus surprising and delightful when we are led past those fa- miliar landmarks with a guide who encourages us to take that which we thought we knew and see it in a new light. Dr. Monika Hilder is just such a guide. In this volume, she beckons us to reconsider the Narnian ideal of heroism. For most readers, this is a concept that immediately conjures images of bold Reepicheep the Mouse brandish- ing his rapier, of the disenchanted Prince Rilian lopping off the head of the serpentine Green Witch, of Peter Pevensie slaying the wolf Maugrim. Yet, we are here challenged to look beyond those obvious exhibitions of heroics to an ethos of heroism that is more traditionally associated with “feminine” characteristics of compassion and passivi- ty than with more “masculine” traits of aggression and activity. Feats of courage in this kind...
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