The “Nova Effect” of the Planet Narnia Thesis
With mainstream media attention, a BBC documentary, star-studded podcasts and interviews, and a constellation of books and resources, is there a literary phenomenon quite like Michael Ward’s ideas about the medieval genesis of Narnia? Speaking as a C.S. Lewis scholar, I would go so far as to say that Planet Narnia is the most important resource for reading the Chronicles of Narnia published in this century, creating something like a nova effect in Narnian studies.
Despite my assertion that this is an essential book, I am part of a quiet but not immaterial set of readers who have serious questions about the Planet Narnia thesis. I hope you have read and know Ward’s book well; however, I want to offer some suggestions on why I think he is wrong. These thoughts are merely teasers, intended to stir constructive and critical conversation. More than anything, reconsidering the Planet Narnia thesis in this way leads to an even greater appreciation of the value of the work.
Put briefly, Planet Narnia argues that Lewis intentionally structured the seven Narnian chronicles around the seven planets of medieval cosmology, so that each ‘star’ influenced a particular book in character development, wordplay, symbolic layering, Christological imagery, biblical intertextuality, and central theme. Lewis used medieval cosmology not only for imagistic interest or narrative energy, but carefully structured the Narniad around the seven planets. Moreover, he kept that sophisticated design a secret for his entire life, intentionally cloaking the central organizing feature of the Narniad.
I will test the different points of the thesis, defending aspects of it while suggesting new ways to approach Planet Narnia.
“The Supreme Medieval Work of Art”
Setting aside text evidence and secrecy for a moment, is the thesis even plausible? I do think there is an inherent plausibility built into the thesis—but it is circular.
If Lewis used medieval forms to create his contemporary fiction, then there is a beautiful synchronicity to Lewis’s use of the planetary model. As Lewis argues in The Discarded Image, the medieval poets and writers were systematizers. They not only created these grand, beautiful, intricate systems, but also weaved the structured features of their worldview into the complex literary tapestries of their imagination. As Lewis wrote, “The planets are not merely present … but woven into the plot.” Medieval poets thought integrating the symmetry of the cosmos into art was beautiful and rich, so Lewis’s weaving of the medieval model in his Narnian plot would reflect that particular charm.
If Lewis used the medieval model he certainly had a good reason to. We must admit that this is a circular argument. As such, Lewis’s love of medieval cosmology only opens up possibilities, as they would in creating a thesis about other things he loved (classical poetry, biblical myth, Celtic folklore, allegorical poetry, epic, etc.).
“Hidden Under ‘A Pious Veil of Figments‘”?
Moreover, the thesis is based on what Lewis has hidden from the world. There is no external text evidence that we can use to test the thesis. Quite the opposite, in fact. Lewis himself claimed there was a structure to The Chronicles of Narnia—namely, biblical and Christological typologies that he shared with readers—and that the Narniad was not planned ahead of time. Ward’s thesis stands in contradistinction to the text evidence we have, and newly released letters shows Lewis slowly working out the Narniad over time. Intriguingly, because of the secrecy nature of the thesis, even if we could use textual evidence to support it—if Lewis told someone about his plan—then the thesis falls.
Between the circularity of the idea of Lewis’s use of the model and the secrecy element of the thesis, the claim is effectively non-falsifiable. In public talks and lectures, Ward challenges the skeptic to consider his thesis based on the evidence, suggesting that because the evidence is so strong it is up to the reader to disagree. While the intertextual evidence is available for everyone to consider, with the secrecy thesis the reality is the reverse. Using Lewis’s own approach to evidence-based analysis we see that, a “theory which could never by any experience be falsified can for that reason hardly be verified.”
The Planet Narnia thesis is thus non-falsifiable. Ward is rejecting what Lewis actually said about his project, and we can never prove that Lewis didn’t have a secret plan for the project. Since the thesis cannot be proved false it can hardly be proved true.
Moreover, Ward’s reason for rejecting Lewis’s own testimony about the project is insufficient for three reasons.
First, when Ward suggests Narnia is not just “about Christ” and that Christological books “make up less than half the sequence,” his frame is too narrow. If we follow Lewis in extending the theme to Christ as the prime model for spiritual life, we can see how Narnia is “about Christ.”
Second, Ward is right in resisting complaint about Narnia’s “hodge-podge” nature. Lewis was, after all, a logically coherent and imaginatively complex thinker, deeply rooted in speculative fiction and an expert in the formation of symbolically laden fictional worlds. However, the whole frame of the question is wrong. Why do we think that drawing from dozens of various biblical, classical, folk, and fictional sources is poor writing? The whole question is based on a modern assumption of authorial originality that Lewis himself rejected, preferring to view himself as part of a tradition of literature, like the latest architect to work on a Norman cathedral.
Third, neither of these claims, even if we granted them, mean that there should be a “scheme,” a single structured framework of thought that is the imaginative foundation of the whole. Medieval authors themselves use far more subtle and variant structures than one-to-one planetary allegiances. There may be a sevenfold structure to the Narniad, and I think Ward’s work is interesting as a lens for reading, but there is no reason we should expect such a structure.
“The Wise Man Will Over-Rule the Star”
Because of the nature of Ward’s claim, it is not up to readers to consider the thesis but for Ward to convince us that there is reason to consider a non-falsifiable thesis. Lewis’s own comments and approaches to literary criticism work against this, so I reject the intentional framing of the thesis. And I set aside his claim for a seven book/seven planet linkage until I see the evidence as a whole.
Still, because his work has been so influential and so many stellar scholars have endorsed it, I believe it is worth taking up the other side for a moment. Many people have deep concerns about the conspiratorial nature of the work, which I have demonstrated is non-confirmable. We should consider the skeptic’s instinct to cut the thesis off here at the methodological root. A skeptic might say, “in the thousands of scraps we have from Lewis, there is not even an offhand remark about medieval cosmology shaping the series; moreover, there are specific comments about the series representing other kinds of structures.” I have shown that these are relevant criticisms, but it may not mean we throw out the thesis altogether.
First, a sufficiently complex piece of work—particularly one formed in multilayered medieval modes—can operate on a number of levels, and Lewis is sufficiently complex enough to work with character development and religious symbolism in concert with some other kind of shaping idea. By example, when Ransom’s heel is wounded in his battle with the Unman at the close of Perelandra, there is no reason to choose whether this is a fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 or an Arthurian dolorous stroke. In Lewis, the two are united by a common symbolic field of gravity. Lewis could, therefore, unite Christology and medieval cosmology with poetic themes.
Second, though I think the secrecy element in Lewis’s life is overdrawn, and I have serious questions about how “kappa” is interpreted in the manuscript history of “On Stories,” Ward is possibly correct that Lewis’s personality was such that he would relish such a symmetrical plan and enjoy keeping it a secret.
Granted, then, that Lewis would for religious, ethical, or artistic reasons consider using a hidden construct, and that he was capable of it, the only possible way to evaluate the Planet Narnia thesis of book-to-planet correspondence is to decide if there is enough evidence in favour of it on internal grounds. Is there enough evidence of Martial influence in Prince Caspian or Saturnine influence in The Last Battle, and a lack of such guiding influence in the other books, to convince a skeptical reader that the construct is clear?
It is in this realm of criticism that the thesis fails. Because the Chronicles are so filled with planetary imagery, critically laid out so well, we can only accept that each book has its own guiding planetary intelligence by reducing that planetary influence in the other books.
“Jupiter, the King … is Not Very Easy to Grasp”
Most of us who picked up one of Ward’s books were struck by the beautiful synchronicity between medieval cosmology and the Narniad. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is certainly a jovial book, just as The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is shot through with light and the Narnian civil war is the organizing principle of the martial Prince Caspian. The links are just very cool.
However, I have some concerns about Ward’s selection of the qualities of the planets and the way they connect to the books. My biggest concern can be illustrated by looking at Ward’s treatment of Jupiter in That Hideous Strength. He presses the argument that Jupiter is the guiding influence of THS. Ward’s writing on the Ransom Cycle is thrilling to read, highlighting the planetary influence in a way that made me convinced I have undervalued the planets in thinking of THS as Thulcandra. However, Ward goes too far in making Jupiter/Jove the ruling influence of THS:
The priestly-kingly operations of Jove manifest themselves in two main ways in That Hideous Strength: at a human level in the character of Ransom and at a cosmic level in the actual descent of Jupiter in chapter 15.
Consider the details in that section: Ransom is the Pendragon, and thus King of Logres, but also a Christ figure; Melchizedek was the priest-king and Christ figure; Ransom is thus not just king but priest-king; “Melchisedec is a Hebrew name meaning ‘My king is Jupiter’”; Ransom survives on a diet of wine and bread and has a jovial nature; therefore, Ransom is a jovial character and kingship comes to the front of THS.
The link is thin; Ward has pressed the Melchisedec idea too far. More than this though—and I would like to major on majors—does THS strike you as a jovial book dominated by the theme of kingship? It clearly isn’t jovial, and Ransom himself downplays the kingship theme, noting that he is a subject of the impotent King of England, and we see nothing like the kingship material of most Arthurian tales. Merlin the king-maker is stripped of his role and Ransom must make him a new kind of mage.
If we were to press the question of which planetary influence we would want to identify with That Hideous Strength, what would it be? The book takes places during Saturnalia, and it is Saturnine kind of atmosphere. Note the atmosphere when Saturn (Lurga) descends upon the Manor at St. Anne’s in chapter 15.
By contrast, THS is clearly about Venus. The book is bookended by the marriage ceremony, beginning in troth-making and ending in consummation. A critical theme concerns the various kinds of obediences and self-deaths that are played out in stories of romantic love. THS is a venereal book.
Looking at the title, we see that That Hideous Strength is a reference to a 16th century poem about the Tower of Babel. Clearly a major theme is language, making it a book about Hermes-Mercury-Viritrilbia, the planet where language is born. While Mark and Jane are caught in a Venus-tale, consider that Lewis in his poem “The Planets” described Mercury with these words: “Words in wedlock, and wedding also”—fitting for the mercurial journey they are on: apart, together, apart, together, like quicksilver in a dish.
Clearly Mercury, certainly Venus, obviously Saturn, and Jupiter are important. We fail in supposing that we have to choose one planetary theme. Ward concludes, “Clearly, Ransom has become a personification of Jupiter, and it is no surprise in the final chapter when we see him sitting ‘crowned, at the right of the hearth.’” That supremacy is not clear, and yet it is valuable to bring out the embedded themes of kingship and joviality lost in a saturnine text-world with a mercurial plot. Avoiding planetary reductionism, which is Ward’s core limitation, and attending to the forty pages of Planet Narnia specifically concerned with the Ransom Cycle will make you a better reader of those overlooked books.
However, the pressing of Jupiter on this point might be telling. When you think of the book, is the theme of kingship really best shown in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Prince Caspian, The Silver Chair, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Horse and His Boy are essentially about the nature of true kingship. In Prince Caspian Peter must surrender his leadership to Lucy’s spiritual wisdom and Edmund’s counsel in order to be a true king. Caspian in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Tirian in The Last Battle are both tested severely in their kingliness, and the very first king of Narnia is set up with the core teachings of kingship in The Magician’s Nephew. Caspian X, Rilian, and Shasta are each lost kings who must find their way back to their proper place. The kingship theme is no more prevalent in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe than elsewhere, and certainly less central than some (The Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian).
Thinking of other Jupiter characteristics, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe may be the most jovial book, but is it the most sanguine (or do sanguine characters predominate)? Is Aslan the most temperate in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the most festal, or would Prince Caspian not fill that role? Is the attention to lion-heartedness any greater in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe than The Silver Chair or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader? I do not deny the striking connection between the Jupiter section of “The Planets” and the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe plot, which is at the heart of Lewis’s understanding of redemption. I simply do not think that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is exclusively or even primarily about Jupiter, the greatest and kingliest of planets.
Challenging “The Martial Temperament”
Another challenge I would offer is the way that Ward correlated Mars with Prince Caspian. Ward twins the martial god of war with Mars Silvanus. Historically, though, the Mars Silvanus influence is far less strong in both poetry and worship, and Mars Silvanus is more of a farming god than a forest or merely verdant figure. The martial elements of Mars are no doubt key in the medieval world, though the historic Mars of worship is so widely described that almost any designation is possible when building a Mars character. Dangerous to Ward’s thesis, Mars is a one-size-fits-all god.
Lewis, like Dante, partially undercuts the Mars image of god of war in Out of the Silent Planet. Though Lewis admired Holst’s Mars movement, he knew his Malacandra had a different flavour, being a place of almost ultimate peace where violence looks like a scar in the text. By contrast, the focus on Mars in Lewis’s poem “The Planets” is entirely about fortune, help, and war—nothing vegetative or peaceful whatsoever.
Considering Mars in Narnia, even if we allow for trees and war as a twin image that Lewis could draw on, would we naturally turn to Prince Caspian for features of trees and war, or to The Last Battle?
Prince Caspian is indeed a book about the preparation for battle, though much of that preparation is hidden from description, as is much of the war. Of war in Prince Caspian we have mostly skirmishes and the hand-to-hand single challenge that establishes who is a true king of Narnia. The Horse and His Boy culminates in war with furious description, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe climaxes on the battlefield, and the subtext of The Silver Chair is about an armed rebellion. Beyond these, The Last Battle is soaked with battle, beginning with a scene that brings the different Mars images together: the death of trees and the slaughter of the Dryads. Mars Silvanus and Mars Gradivus are united most specifically in The Last Battle as the first half of that book is about royal usurpation, enslavement, and martial decimation of the wood.
Mars, then, really is a double-edged sword: The Horse and His Boy, The Last Battle, and Prince Caspian are all books that play with that theme, but the first half of The Last Battle sits better as a martial-sylvan book with a saturnine atmosphere. And, of course, “battle” is in the title of The Last Battle. Ward uses that as evidence of Sol in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Luna in The Silver Chair, so the evidence is not insignificant. Finally, think of this line from the Mars section of “The Planets”: “with trees splintered / And birds banished.” This is like the cry of the Narnians in The Last Battle.
“The Celestial Dance”
I have no doubt that Ward reads The Voyage of the Dawn Treader strongly as a “Sol” book, with light as a central theme. The Silver Chair is the most lunatic book, but is it really the wettest (see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’s voyage or the end-time flood in The Last Battle, a narrative filled with watery language)—and is wateriness really the dominant lunar theme in medieval poetry? Is The Horse and His Boy really the most language-soaked (hermetic) book, or should we look to the language play in The Magician’s Nephew or the way that messages circulate as folklore in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or the fact that The Silver Chair is entirely structured around words? Saturn, especially when imaged as Father Time, fits better with the thematic currents of The Silver Chair better than The Last Battle. Though the saturnal, sickly, aged, weary nature of the Narnian world as The Last Battle begins is worth highlighting, could we speak of Father Time as pouring out a “perilous draught / That the lip loves not”? Maybe, but the link is not obvious.
Most of all, describing The Magician’s Nephew as a venereal book takes a great deal of imaginative energy. The Venus analysis sits poorly in The Magician’s Nephew, though it might fit well with The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which has “friendship” as a critical theme. The Dawn Treader’s voyage also fits Lewis’s description of Venus in “The Planets”—“her secret sceptre, in the sea’s caverns.”
“In Going Beyond the Contour Lines”
All of these questions, queries, and critiques are meant to cause doubt that we should squeeze the seven planets into the form of seven books. Ward is correct that the Narniad is filled with planetary imagery, subtle, obvious, and interwoven in the text, story, characters, themes, and images. This intertextual layering is spiritually rich and imaginatively evocative. By pressing each planet into the frame of each book, however, Ward compresses the texts—the text of the medieval model and the text of Narnia—beyond what they can bear.
Lewis believed that the planets needed “to be lived with imaginatively, not merely learned as concepts.” Lewis himself thought that the planets needed one another to work in tension, as Ward admits when he sees The Last Battle moving from the realm of Saturn to the realm of Jove. If we allow, then, for Ward’s work to flow into the entire series, we see how the seven planets fill Lewis’s imagination, and Lewis reaches back to the model as his word-hoard and his symbol-purse.
Prince Caspian is a martial book, but looking at the ways that the sword and the leaf come together throughout the Narniad is far truer to Mars intertextual realities—and is a reading rich in possibility. As the feast of Saturnalia is Dec 21-23, just before Christmas, there is a benefit to regarding Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as under the influence of Saturn until that realm—“the Sun’s finger / Daunted with darkness,” as Lewis says of Saturn in “The Planets”—is broken by the self-sacrificial king. The sacrifice made, Venusian spring and Jovial lordship bursts upon the land. The Witch’s camp, then, turns to the support of Mars on the battlefield. After all, “Of evil and good. All’s one to Mars,” Lewis says, so her claim is as valid to the haughty mercenary god as any other. It turns out that the Witch is mistaken to trust Mars’s “graceless beauty” and his “Blond insolence.” As a result, though Jadis hopes that she can become “the liar made lord,” Aslan’s self-sacrifice overcomes Mars’s “iron.”
Frankly, allowing all the seven planets to poetically permeate The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe makes for suggestive readings that deepen Lewis’s inversive message of honour, courage, integrity, loyalty, and self-sacrificial love. Extending Ward’s research to an assessment of the Narniad as a whole and the meaning of the Chronicles deepens it even further.
My critical questions and brief experiments suggest procrustean limitations to Ward’s thesis as it stands, but limitless possibilities for readers who use Planet Narnia as a resource for further work.
Conclusion: “After Considering All the Evidence Afresh”
Broken into parts, Michael Ward’s thesis is that:
- Lewis was imaginatively invested in medieval planetary imagery;
- Therefore, that imagery informs Narnia;
- Lewis intentionally shaped the Narniad by the seven planetary influences;
- By aligning each Narnian chronicle with a particular medieval planet;
- And hid his structure from friends and readers.
In literary criticism we can rarely speak with absolute certainty and so must discuss things in terms of relative degrees of probability. With historical and biographical criticism—despite Lewis’s resistance to those disciplines—Michael Ward has established point #1 with near certainty. Planet Narnia establishes point #2 as highly probable and the reader can easily test this part of the thesis. Point #5 is non-falsifiable, so we cannot assess its probability or agree to it in an evidence-based way. Point #4 I have attempted to put into doubt, but to do so in a way that confirms the first two points.
Which leaves us with point #3, the question of intentionality. To what degree did Lewis intentionally infuse Narnia with planetary images (whether Ward is right or whether my cautions are valid)? The answer is that we cannot know without external text evidence. You may say that the sheer number of planetary and cosmological references is overwhelming, so Lewis must have been aware of what he was doing. I actually agree and would say that point #3 is highly probable (though not with relation to point #4). But we must admit that we don’t have a method for saying how many references account for accidental intertextuality and how many constitute proof of intention.
Of course, we don’t need to know point #3 to affirm the best part of the Planet Narnia thesis. Intriguingly, if we leave #3 aside, Ward’s point #4 no longer needs the problematic secrecy theory, point #5. Focusing on the text and the world of the text—as Lewis asks us to do in reading—allows us all the benefits of the thesis without the deeply implausible and untestable occultation thesis.
And, of course, this is true even if Ward’s most intriguing claim—point #4, that the Narniad is structured according to the sevenfold planetary model—is demonstrably true. My negation of Ward’s secrecy theory is not disastrous to his thesis as a whole. We don’t need to create a fiction about Lewis’s writing process to consider the Planet Narnia thesis. Lewis has given us the text and we should read it.
Though I reject the hot points of Ward’s thesis, I think it is a stellar work as a whole. This is why I offer my inadequate response here. I hope that readers can use the book to strengthen their experience of Narnia and, in a complementary way, strengthen their attention to method, logic, and analysis in scholarship.
Brenton Dickieson. “(Re)Considering the Planet Narnia Thesis.” An Unexpected Journal 1, no. 4. (Advent 2018): 59-76.
Direct Link: https://anunexpectedjournal.com/reconsidering-the-planet-narnia-thesis/
 For nova effects in worldviews see the epilogue of C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge: Canto Classics, 1994), 216-223.
 Ibid., 12.
 Ibid., 201.
 Ibid., 65.
 “I am not claiming to have unearthed a hitherto unknown document in which Lewis divulged this secret, nor am I relying on previously unpublished testimony from one of his friends or relatives.” Michael Ward, Planet Narnia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 5.
 E.g., see the 5 Mar 1961 letter to Anne Jenkins, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis: Vol. 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1244-1245. Two works that take this note seriously include Charles A. Huttar, “C.S. Lewis’s Narnia and the ‘Grand Design’” in The Long for a Form: Essays on the Fiction of C.S. Lewis, ed., Peter J. Schakel (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1977), 119-135; Will Vaus, The Hidden Story of Narnia: A Book-by-Book Guide to C.S. Lewis’s Spiritual Themes (Cheshire, CT: Winged Lion Press, 2010).
 E.g., see the 21 Apr 1957 letter to Laurence Krieg, CLIII 847-8.
 See Brenton Dickieson, “A New C.S. Lewis Letter with Details About Narnia,” A Pilgrim in Narnia, September 12 2018, accessed November 20, 2018, https://apilgriminnarnia.com/2018/09/12/new-lewis-letter/.
 E.g., Michael Ward, Introduction to a new audio course, “Christology, Cosmology, and C.S. Lewis,” Now You Know Media Inc., 2017.
 The context is about liberal Christianity and sin, but the language of discovery is illustrative: some “would tell us to go on rummaging and scratching till we find something specific…. I think they are right in saying that if we hunt long enough we shall find, or think we have found, something. But that is just what wakens suspicion. A theory which could never by any experience be falsified can for that reason hardly be verified.” C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (London: Goeffrey Bles, 1964), 50.
 Ward, Planet Narnia, 12.
 My work argues that this motif is all through Lewis; see Brenton D.G. Dickieson, “‘Die Before You Die’: St. Paul’s Cruciformity in C.S. Lewis” in Both Sides of the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis, Theological Imagination and Everyday Discipleship, ed. Rob Fennell (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 32-45.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 104.
 See Ward, Planet Narnia, esp. 15-19.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 105.
 Ward, Planet Narnia, 49.
 Ibid., 50.
 In reading for my two biblical degrees—including two years of Hebrew—Melchizedek was never connected with Jupiter. To most readers, “Melchizedek” means “king of righteousness” or “my king is righteous.” It is true that Jews called Jupiter ‘Tzedeq’ (the same root). I am not certain we have any reference to Jupiter in the 2000 years of biblical history between Abraham and the Talmud, but I’m open to be corrected. Even if I am wrong, did Lewis, though, have any idea of this technical point of Hebrew? I am doubtful.
 Ward, Planet Narnia, 50.
 In telling his engaging story of discovery in lectures and interviews, Ward points to the striking note in Lewis’s poem “The Planets” concerning Jupiter: “of winter passed / and guilt forgiven,” C.S. Lewis, “The Alliterative Metre,” in Selected Literary Essays, ed. Walter Hooper (Cambridge: Canto Classics, 2013); 26.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 106.
 Moreover, some attention to the ecosystems of parts of Europe might be helpful when thinking of agricultural gods when it comes to the spring language in Planet Narnia.
 Just as the past wars with the rebel Thulcandra scarred the Malacandran landscape.
 Silver being the metal of Luna.
 Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 25.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 55.
 Though I believe it to be honestly informed by the “light” theme in John.
 Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 26.
 Translating erotic love to friendship in a children’s story.
 Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 24.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 217.
 Ibid., 173.
 Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 26.
 Of Venus: “In grass growing, and grain bursting, / Flower unfolding, and flesh longing, / And shower falling sharp in April,” Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 24.
 Lewis, “Alliterative Metre,” 25.
 Lewis, The Discarded Image, 180.
 Which is Lewis’s primary argument in his first and last works of literary theory. C.S. Lewis and E.M.W. Tillyard, The Personal Heresy: A Controversy (New York: HarperOne, 1939); C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (Cambridge: Canto Classics, 2012).