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Calormenes or “Coloured Men”?: An Orientalist Reading of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Considering that C.S. Lewis was both British and a devout Christian, it is not surprising that his seven-volume Chronicles of Narnia is often claimed to be framed by Western ideologies. The books are well-known for containing British references and Christian allusions; however, Oriental references are also frequently made by the author. For example, Calormen, a neighbouring country to Narnia, is argued to resemble a stereotypical Arab-Oriental society regarding both the physical appearances of the people and their values. However, in comparison to the good and Westernised Narnian culture, Calormen is depicted as thoroughly evil. Lewis has therefore been criticised for using a negative portrayal of the Orient in the Chronicles. According to Edward Said, founder of the theory Orientalism, the portrayal of the West as superior to the Orient was common during the time period when the Chronicles were written and published. By applying Said’s theory Orientalism, I therefore investigate the contrast made between Calormen and Narnia regarding: physical attributes, cultural values, and religion. In addition, I argue that Calormen is consistently depicted as inferior to Narnia in these respects, and also discuss some of the effects the contrast made in the books entails.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 25 p.
Keyword [en]
The Chronicles of Narnia, Calormen, West, Orient, Orientalism, Edward Said, C.S. Lewis, Islam, Christianity, Middle East.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131045OAI: diva2:935461
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-10 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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Chiarito, Joanna
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