The Political Worlds of Boxen and Narnia

Small Bodies in Big Spaces

  • Sylvia Hunt Laurentian University
Keywords: juvenilia, child author, child writer, child artist, polis, literature, C. S. Lewis, George Orwell, political allegory


C. S. Lewis is not generally considered a political writer. However, the Boxen tales, written when Lewis was between the ages of six and fourteen, depict an adult world of political intrigue and stultifying small talk. This paper offers a reading of Boxen, alongside George Orwell’s political writing and Lewis’s own mature work, to argue that political commentary underpins much of Lewis’s writing—a commentary that begins in the Boxen stories but does not end there. If the Boxen stories depict political scheming and negligent leadership, the Narnia Chronicles describe a paracosm founded on the Greek polis, or the ideal state. The two worlds complement one another, and both are important to a full appreciation of Lewis’s political thought.