The Chronicles of Narnia are one of the most beloved series of children's books ever written. From the moment Lucy steps through the wardrobe and into another world, the reader is captivated. In the journey that follows, spanning the entire history of the world of Narnia from the moment before its creation to its final end, we are delighted, terrified, excited, and, most importantly, shown the path to courage and honor.
These books are simple enough for the youngest readers, and yet so rich in imagery and symbolism that they reward the most detailed of readings. And here's the thing: every Narnian knows that the next best thing to being in Narnia is talking about it. But we dursn't talk about it to just anyone: why, old professor Kirk himself warned that we should only talk about it with others who have had similar adventures.
One character in the Narnia books (Eustace Scrubb) is condemned by the narrator for not having read the right sort of books: you see, Eustace preferred books of information to books about magic and adventures and dragons and all the rest. As a result, he was not prepared for the journey he was thrust upon, and suffered greatly along the way. Taking this to heart, I have devoted years to developing the very type of scholarly expertise Lewis had, while also feeding the flames of wonder through a steady diet of dragons, fairies, and wizards.
As a result, I can offer something rare and delicious: a class that combines the joy of talking about Narnia with other Narnians with analysis that will enable you to see themes and symbolism that may not be apparent on casual reading. Along the way, we will delight again in the joy of this incredible world; but we will not neglect to learn the hard lessons the children were drawn there to learn. After all, Narnia is not a tame world.
Next offering Spring 2024
$600 / student
Next offering Spring 2024
Adult class (ages 15+)
$500 / student
"C.S. Lewis’s _Chronicles of Narnia_ has always been for me ground zero of the imagination. Since the first moment the first book was read to me in kindergarten, I have returned to it at regular intervals. Every adult should reread the Chronicles every couple of years to be reminded of the child they were and still must, in some significant sense, be. These books will teach bravery, integrity, and loyalty. But they also teach the cost of betrayal, the terrible price that can fall on others because of one’s actions, and the indescribable clash of joy and horror at seeing one much worthier than you pay the debt you owe. They teach that beauty and goodness are terrifying and unsafe, but nevertheless desirable. They teach that it is not courage but silliness to stand when you should kneel in awe, and that there is no distance you can fall from which you cannot be lifted if you will let yourself be undone first. There are perhaps no books in all of literature I would recommend more highly than these" ("A Dragon in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush" in Wild Things and Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Books for Children).
Participating in a course led by Dr. Junius Johnson is a wonderful journey of exploration, seeking hidden gems in unexpected places. It is an opportunity to learn to look deeper than the surface, both in reading and in the mundane of life. A delightful feast for the mind that lasts far beyond the actual banquet.
Junius Johnson's seminars discover wonder and pathos revealed in dragon stories down through the ages.
Every time I hear Junius Johnson speak, I walk away asking: "Did I forget how exciting and joyful the life of the mind can be?”
A deep perspective on the human need for wonder, and the essential desire for things powerful and uncontrollable.
Why do you suppose dragons have possessed the imagination of writers and readers for most of our recorded history. Junius Johnson has come away from the dragons hoard with a few secrets to share. I found his treatment personally encouraging and a call to pick up my lance (or my pen), and join in the battle.