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Tales Before Narnia: The Roots of Modern Fantasy and Science Fiction

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  65 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In his acclaimed collection Tales Before Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson illuminated the sources, inspirations, and influences that fired J.R.R. Tolkien’s genius. Now Anderson turns his attention to Tolkien’s colleague and friend C. S. Lewis, whose influence on modern fantasy, through his beloved Narnia books, is second only to Tolkien’s own.

In many ways, Lewis’s influence ha
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2008)
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Julie Davis
As with this editor's Tales Before Tolkien, this collection presents not only tales Lewis read but those which would have been in the current story environment when he was growing up. A really wonderful collection and one which I enjoyed thoroughly, all the moreso for the inclusion of short stories by some of Lewis's fellow Inklings who are lesser known.

I didn't feel I had to painstakingly read every story if one wasn't the sort I like. A quick skimming was perfectly adequate to give me the gist
I don't know how long I've owned this for - perhaps since 2009? - but I only just got around to reading it. It's a collection of short stories by authors Lewis is known or supposed to have enjoyed. Not all have much in common with the Narnia books - for instance there was a 'letter from hell' cited as loosely connected to the Screwtape Letters. I skipped quite a few of the stories. However, I really enjoyed E. Nesbitt's "The Aunt and Amabel", about a universe through a wardrobe; and Andersen's " ...more
The most interesting aspect of this collection is the inclusion of an introductory sidebar relating why each piece was selected and how each may have influenced Lewis's writing. I enjoyed learning of friendships and acquaintances. Sadly, there is no helpful table of contents.

I enjoyed the story "The Aunt and Amabel" by E. Nesbit about a girl who enters another world by means of a wardrobe and boards a train bound for "Bigwardrobeinspareroom".

The Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Snow Queen"
In this volume Douglas Anderson has selected works that represent the influences on the literary sensibility of C. S. Lewis. These works include children's stories, fairy tales (often from the German or Scandinavian traditions), religious allegory, and science fiction. Each selection contains an introduction indicating Lewis's relationship with the work (when he read it, what he thought of it, whether he knew the author personally, etc.). The selections are for the most part worthwhile reading i ...more
I found one or two of the selections to be so boring that I couldn't finish them, but I comforted myself with the thought that the author wrote that C.S. Lewis himself didn't particularly care for those authors, so I'm in good company. Generally speaking, I found myself thinking that I wished people still wrote things like this. The language is just so much more vivid and controlled than the way people write now.
François B
Great book with quite a few stories I'd enjoy reading a few more times. I especially enjoyed Undine, The Snow Queen, and (not sure I remember the title correctly..) The Magic Mirror(?).

These three stories alone are worth price of the book.
Like any anthology, some of the stories really worked for me while others fell flat and were, to me, unreadable. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful "Undine" which was apparently very well known in the last century, and the original letters which were the foundation for "The Wind in the Willows".

As a Narnia fan since childhood, I found this book incredibly frustrating in that the editor presents these stories as those that CS Lewis read and was influenced by. However, with a couple of exceptio
These short novels are really amazing. Beautifully written and there are so many that you are bound to love at least one of them. If you loved reading Narnia and the Lord of the Rings you will also enjoy this book.
I loved this collection of stories written by friends or authors that inspired C.S. Lewis. My favorites include: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, The Magic Mirror by George MacDonald, Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque, The Tapestried Chamber by Sir Walter Scott, The Dragon's Visit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Dream Dust Factory by William Lindsay Gresham. Some of these authors were the pioneers for all modern folk lore and sci-fi/fantasy and I really enjoyed this anthology!
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Feb 07, 2011 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: C.S. Lewis fans, people curious about the antecedents of the fantasy genre
If you're curious about the precursors to fantasy generally or you are a C.S. Lewis aficionado, I'd recommend this.

A bit to my sorrow and regret, I bounced off Undine. And there was a Hans Christian Anderson story that was a bit on the twee side. (I finished it anyway.) But there were some fine and surprising stories in here.
I really enjoyed all the stories in this book. It's amazing to see how many elements of the Narnia series were adapted from earlier works. Definitely a must read for fans of the Narnia series.
Interesting take on all things C.S. Lewis. Disappointing that many of the tales seem to be inspirations for things like Screwtape and not Narnia specific, but a fascinating collection nonetheless
I grew up on fairy tales so I loved this book. These are all stories that C S Lewis read and liked or that influenced some of his own writings. These are stories I'll read again and again.
An interesting collection of fairy tales and other excerpts of authors who influenced CS Lewis. Always good to get exposure to undeservedly obscure fantasy writers.
Works of fantasy and sci-fi that had some influence on C.S. Lewis including authors like Hans Christian Anderson, Longfellow, E. Nesbit, Owen Barfield, etc.
This was an interesting collection of stories, with some influences particularly evident. The similarity of some of the stories might put some readers off.
This book was very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. the author did use quite a few stories not specifically listed by Lewis as a story he had even read, however the excerpts explaining each passage proved to be interesting. The story of Undine is particularly fascinating!
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Douglas Allen Anderson (born 1959) is an author and editor on the subjects of fantasy and medieval literature, specializing in textual analysis of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien.

His first published book was The Annotated Hobbit (1988), which grew out of a study of the revisions made by Tolkien. The Annotated Hobbit won the Mythopoeic Award for scholarship.

Anderson has also edited modern editions o
More about Douglas A. Anderson...
Tales Before Tolkien: The Roots of Modern Fantasy H.P. Lovecraft's Favorite Weird Tales: The Roots of Modern Horror Seekers of Dreams: Masterpieces of Fantasy On Tolkien: Interviews, Reminiscences, and Other Essays First And Ten

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