Celebrating 65 years of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: 1950-2015

Back

In 1939, C. S. Lewis began writing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but Lewis began piecing together the story long before that. The tales of ancient myths his Irish nurse told him always fascinated him; and when he was sixteen, a picture of a faun carrying parcels and an umbrella in snowy woods popped into his head. Years later, during World War II, four children stayed with Lewis at his country house and stirred his imagination again. Not long afterward, he began writing the story that would become The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In 1948, C. S. Lewis resumed writing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and renamed the children in the story. The children readers know as Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were originally called Ann, Martin, Rose, and Peter.

In 1949, Roger Lancelyn Green was the first to hear passages from what would become The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He later said of the experience: “As [Lewis] read, there crept over me a feeling of awe and excitement: not only that it was better than most children’s books which were appearing at the timeā€”but the conviction that I was listening to the first reading of a classic.”

In 1950, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was first published with illustrations by Pauline Baynes, a young artist who perfectly captured, the pictures that Jack Lewis had seen in his head. Baynes created nearly 350 pen-and-ink illustrations for the series.

In 1968, the first made-for-television Narnia production airs in England, a black-and-white adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In 1979, an animated adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe debuts on British television.

In 1988, The BBC airs a live-action adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

In 1994, HarperCollins released paperback editions of The Chronicles of Narnia in the United States with new cover art from two-time Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Dillon. Also in 1994, HarperCollins released hardcover editions of The Chronicles of Narnia in the United States with new jacket art from two-time Caldecott Medalist Chris Van Allsburg.

In 2005, Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for theatrical release. C. S. Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham, coproduced the film.

Throughout the years, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe has seen many editions imagined by one incredible artist after another as well as notable onscreen adaptations. To this day, it remains a classic worldwide.

For the complete history of Narnia, click here: https://www.narnia.com/us/news-extras/narnia-timeline