Chances are there are very few shelves in world devoid of the land of Narnia. Perhaps one of the most popular and globally recognized imaginary kingdoms ever penned, The Chronicles of Narnia and the work of C.S. Lewis span generations, languages and geographical barriers. Even my two-year-old daughter is receiving her first taste of the land beyond the wardrobe through the graphic novel editions I collected as a girl. The saga continues into the 21st century through the lens of cinema and became locally tangible this summer through The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition at the Louisville Science Center. The exhibit is in its final week of showcasing the magical characters of C.S. Lewis, closing this Sunday, September 18th; don’t miss your last opportunity to feast your eyes on some rare and unique volumes of Narnia history.
Created in conjunction with Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition features actual props and costumes from the films, larger-than-life replicas and a real working catapult. However, nestled in the opening corner and carefully roped off, are the real jewels: private artifacts and books from the personal shelf of the man himself. Spread over a deftly-arranged antique desk are literary objects from Lewis’ life, including his personal copy of George MacDonald’s Phantastes and a hand-written letter to Susan Salzberg describing his writing process. Personal items consist of a Tetley’s Lightweight pipe – one of two pipes stored in a special, teakwood box on Lewis’ own desk – and a traditional dimple pint glass mug used by Lewis on an outing to an English pub.
In addition to books and items from Lewis’ life, the exhibit also displays a modest but fascinating collection of first and foreign editions of The Chronicles of Narnia. Global versions include copies from countries as far away as Japan (The Horse and His Boy) and Russia (The Silver Chair), as well as volumes in Portuguese (Prince Caspian), Chinese (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Danish (The Magician’s Nephew) and Welsh (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
C.S. Lewis and his land of Narnia will continue to spark the minds of readers for decades to come – no matter what language we understand or what formats technology throws our way. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition allows fans the occasion to interact with the characters they love, as well as peek behind the dust jacket to the writer beyond. Make plans to visit the Louisville Science Center this week and seize your final chance to share in the literary history of Lewis’ timeless world of magic and myth.
The Louisville Science Center is located downtown at 727 W Main St on the corner of 8th and Main
For prices, hours and more information visit www.louisvillescience.org
Photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Science Center