Another topic

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Thu Dec 4 04:29:21 EST 2003


Minnow:
> >Thanks for the example, Minnow - I should have remembered that. Mind you,
> >the Narnia books are so steeped in Nesbit's influence that I'm not sure
he
> >counts as an independent witness!
>
> Are they?  He read them, according to Carpenter's "Inklings", but I don't
> know how steeped he was, any more than in eg Mark Twain, which C also
cites
> as books Lewis had available to read.

Well, influence is a hard thing to prove, of course, but personally I think
the narrative voice he adopts in Narnia has strong echoes of Nesbit's
(though it's not as witty, and doesn't poke quite so much fun at the
reader). And then *The Magician's Nephew* in particular, with its namecheck
of the Bastables in the first couple of lines, has always seemed to me to be
a kind of Nesbit homage. E.g. Jadis in London recalls the Babylonian queen
in *The Story of the Amulet*, while Frank and (can't remember the name) who
become the first king and queen of Narnia echo the Cook and Thief becoming
king and queen of the tropical island in *The Phoenix and the Carpet*.

I think he also had a short but admiring passage about Nesbit in *Surprised
by Joy*. All this doesn't make a cast-iron case for pervasive Nesbit
influence, perhaps, but at least I've convinced myself!

Charlie

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