Intertextuality of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle
The Chronicles of Narnia has an established position in the canon of children’s literature. However, what on the surface is a fairy tale involving adventures and magic; with children, kings, talking beasts, and wood spirits as main protagonists; is, in fact, a set of stories deeply rooted in Christian and chivalric traditions, containing elements of beast fable and morality tale. The story, according to Madeline L’Engle, depending on the reader's cultural knowledge and experience, may be understood on various levels, from the literal one of an adventure story for children, through the moral and allegorical levels, eventually reaching the anagogical level. While reading The Chronicles, one is able to notice various references to other written works, interwoven into the text, with the Bible, chivalric romances and beast fables being the most prominent sources of intertextual allusions. In The Last Battle Lewis attempts to answer John Donne’s question, “What if this present were the world’s last night?" (Holy Sonnet XIII) and presents a comprehensive image of Narnian apocalypse and life after death in Aslan’s country. The following paper will present the most noteworthy intertextual references in the final volume of The Narniad.
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