My Five Minutes of Fame

Today the Chronicles of Narnia opened in German cinemas — and SWR1, a German radio station, did a phone interview with me about C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia. Apparently, the SWR1 people wanted to give their listeners some background info about the film as Lewis’s books aren’t that well known in Germany. So they phoned the British Studies at the university of Mainz in order to find somebody who might know something about author and book. This in turn resulted in a bit of panic at our department, because none of the people present had read the Chronicles or wanted to be interviewed. Our secretary then called me — and thus cleared the way to my five minutes of fame. I had a vague idea what THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE is about and could tell them amusing things about the Inklings: that they met on Tuesday mornings at the Eagle and the Child (nicknamed “The Bird and the Babe”) in Oxford and on Thursday evenings in Lewis’s sitting room at Magadalen College (pronounced Maudlin).

That interview probably changed the history of radio forevermore. *g*

8 thoughts on “My Five Minutes of Fame

  1. Kate

    We’re radio stars together! I got on the local BBC radio a few weeks ago (for a whole 20 seconds). But, hey, at least you knew some things. And if you get a chance, you should read C. S. Lewis – they’re a bit over the top with the Christian imagery, but if you ignore that, they’re fun reads!

  2. Schrumpfkopf

    “a bit over the top with the Christian imagery”

    Which is exactly why they are not really popular in germany, I think. People are a lot more sensitive about propaganada, or rather, a lot more suspicious towards it. I stead of just saying that well, it’s a bit over the top but readable, they will feel feel somebody wants to sel them something. This, however, my be just my oppinion…

  3. Sandy

    I think it’s more a problem of how fantasy fiction for children was received in Germany in the past. I mean, even in the mid-1980s the Börsenblatt (the magazine for German booksellers) trashed The Lord of the Rings and The Neverending Story as escapist fiction. Both were labelled as not recommended for children and teens.

    I don’t think the Christian imagery would be that much of a problem. After all, in the Nerschan books Ralf Isau uses a great deal of Christian doctrine, which I found quite off-putting (apart from the fact that the first book of the series reads like a retelling of The Neverending Story). Still, he is now one of the leading fantasy writers for children and teens in Germany. (Which brings us back to our — i.e. Schrumpfkopf’s and mine — favourite topic: fantasy in Germany.) (Don’t ask!) (It’s sad.) (VERY sad!!!)

  4. Sandy, Radio Starlet

    Hail thee, fellow radio stars! (Schrumpfkopf is a radio star, too. He has even got a radio show of his own: just go to Radio Rheinwelle — http://www.radio-rheinwelle.de — at 7.00 p.m. on Sunday evenings and there he is!)

    Kate, I’ve seen the British TV series years ago and totally loved it. I’ve got the big, fat omnibus edition of the Narnia Chronicles and am just waiting for the right time to dig in. :O)

  5. Dorie

    LOL, I’m glad you were on the radio. I’m sure it was a great interview, but I wouldn’t have understood a word.

    Sorry for the late reply. Now it seems kind of lame though, compared to others. 😀

    But I do want to read The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, instead of just watching the movie in school.

  6. Sandy

    Hail thee, webmistress extraordinaire! :O) No need to be sorry. Life’s overtaking us all now and then.

  7. Schrumpfkopf

    “I think it’s more a problem of how fantasy fiction for children was received in Germany in the past. I mean, even in the mid-1980s the Börsenblatt (the magazine for German booksellers) trashed The Lord of the Rings and The Neverending Story as escapist fiction. Both were labelled as not recommended for children and teens.”

    Yes, but the point is: they were and are read extensively. What I find interesting is that the Narnia books never caught on at all in Germany. Surely, what with the neverending success of especially Tolkien, the marketing people made the same decision Hollywood just made: Tolkien sells, Lewis knew Tolkien, so he’ll probably sell too. Marketing people are very good at logic, you can tell. So they doubtlessly have attempted to sell Narnia here. There is a German edition. And people just don’t seem to like it. This cannot have anything to do with bad press. Much of popular fiction has bad press. I don’t think Steven King gets any respect from German critics. He’s still selling.

    Anyhow, so maybe it isn’t the religion thing. What then?

  8. Kate

    Narnia never caught on in Germany? That’s intriguing.

    Oddly enough one of my teachers first read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe to me when I was in grade 2 (8 years old). Loved it to bits… but of course, I wasn’t looking for the Christian imagery at that point.

    They’ve become absolute classics in the English-speaking world… why haven’t they caught on in Germany (there’s an MA/PhD thesis in and of itself, eh?)

Comments are closed.