What inspired C.S. Lewis to name his imaginary world “Narnia?”


Walter Hooper, Advisor and Consultant to the literary estate of C.S. Lewis (and avid collector of Lewis artefacts) claimed that the name came from a map that Lewis had as a child, referring to the Italian town of Narni(a). Hooper evidently had the map in his possession.

"It will perhaps surprise you to hear that I spent a day (in Narni/Narnia) in October (1996). In fact, this was my second trip, as my godson and I were there first five years ago. C. S. Lewis came across the name 'Narnia' in a classical atlas he used as a boy, and continued to use it all his life. I have it now, and it's interesting to see that he underscored the name when he first saw it back in about 1914. In Italian Narnia is called 'Narni', and it's under that name that you will find it on modern maps.

Narnia and Narni

  • The above seems interesting, yet somewhat lacking, to me. Because Hooper appears to be somewhat suspect (see Lindskoog’s criticisms of this “amanuensis”), I would like to see the actual atlas for myself. Moreover, is Narni ever spelled “Narnia,” and was it spelled so in Lewis’s supposed map? Does Narni have anything reminiscent of Narnia, other than a similar sounding name? In Hooper’s story, he seems to be trying way too hard to equate both names, yet he never states directly that Lewis told him about this equation. And, how would he know that Lewis underscored this around 1914? – ferjsoto42yahoocom Mar 4 at 9:14
  • @ferjsoto42yahoocom - If you look at the comment directly above yours, you can see a reproduction map of Italy with the original Latin names, including Narnia – Valorum Mar 4 at 9:18
  • Thank you. , This helps to make the case for the possible Narni-Narnia link. – ferjsoto42yahoocom Mar 4 at 9:26
  • The modern name of Narni is also likely named after the river Nera that flows nearby. It was called Nar in Roman times. Nar I have heard means "something that flows" although I have not been able to confirm it. – Bjorn Eriksson Mar 4 at 9:53

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