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The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

                   
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader  
TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader(1stEd).jpg
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author(s) C. S. Lewis
Illustrator Pauline Baynes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Chronicles of Narnia
Genre(s) Fantasy, children's literature, Christian
Publisher Geoffrey Bles
Publication date 15 September 1952
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 223 pp
ISBN 978-0-00-723382-3
Preceded by Prince Caspian
Followed by The Silver Chair

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader[1] is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis. Written in 1950, it was published in 1952 as the third book of The Chronicles of Narnia. Current editions of the series are numbered using the internal chronological order making Voyage of the Dawn Treader the fifth book.

Contents

  Plot summary

The two youngest Pevensie children, Lucy and Edmund, are staying with their odious cousin Eustace Scrubb while their older brother Peter is studying for his university entrance exams with Professor Kirke, and their older sister Susan is traveling through America with their parents. Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are drawn into the Narnian world through a picture of a ship at sea. (The painting, hanging neglected in the guest bedroom that the Pevensie children were using, had been an unwanted present to Eustace's parents.) The three children land in the ocean near the pictured vessel, the titular Dawn Treader, and are taken aboard.

The Dawn Treader is the ship of Caspian X, King of Narnia, who was the key character in the previous book (Prince Caspian). Edmund and Lucy (along with Peter and Susan) helped him gain the throne from his evil uncle Miraz.

Three years have passed since then, peace has been established in Narnia, and Caspian has undertaken his oath to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to be back in Narnia, but Eustace is less enthusiastic, as he has never been there before and had taunted his cousins with his belief that the country never existed. The Talking Mouse Reepicheep is also on board, as he hopes to find Aslan's Country beyond the seas of the "utter East".

They first make landfall in the Lone Islands, nominally Narnian territory but fallen away from Narnian ways: in particular the slave trade flourishes here, despite Narnian law stating that it is forbidden. Caspian, Lucy, Edmund, Eustace and Reepicheep are captured as merchandise by a slave trader, and a man "buys" Caspian before they even reach the slave market. He turns out to be the first lost lord, Lord Bern, who moved to the islands and married a woman there after being banished from Narnia by Miraz. When Caspian reveals his identity, Bern acknowledges him as King. Caspian reclaims the islands for Narnia, and replaces Gumpas, the greedy governor, with Lord Bern, whom he names Duke of the Lone Islands.

At the second island they visit, Eustace leaves the group to avoid participating in the work needed to render the ship seaworthy after a storm has damaged it, and hides in a dead dragon's cave to escape a sudden downpour. The dragon's treasure arouses his greed: he fills his pockets with gold and jewels and puts on a large golden bracelet; but as he sleeps, he is transformed into a dragon. As a dragon, he becomes aware of how bad his previous behaviour was, and uses his strength to help make amends. Caspian recognizes the bracelet: it belonged to Lord Octesian, another of the lost lords. They speculate that the dragon killed Octesian — or even that the dragon was Octesian. Aslan turns Eustace back into a boy, and as a result of his experiences he is now a much nicer person.

They make stops at Burnt Island; at Deathwater Island (so named for a pool of water which turns everything immersed in it into gold, including one of the missing lords who turns out to have been Lord Restimar); at the Duffers' Island, where Lucy herself encounters Aslan; and at the Island Where Dreams Come True — called the Dark Island since it is permanently hidden in darkness. They rescue a desperate Lord Rhoop from this last. Eventually they reach the Island of the Star, where they find the three remaining lost lords in enchanted sleep. Ramandu, the fallen star who lives on the island, tells them that the only way to awaken them is to sail to the edge of the world and there to leave one member of the crew behind.

The Dawn Treader continues sailing into an area where merpeople dwell and the water turns sweet rather than salty. At last the water becomes so shallow that the ship can go no farther. Caspian orders a boat lowered and announces that he will go to the world's end with Reepicheep. The crew object, saying that as King of Narnia he has no right to abandon them. Caspian goes to his cabin in a temper, but returns to say that Aslan appeared in his cabin and told him that only Lucy, Edmund, Eustace, and Reepicheep will go on.

These four named venture in a small boat through a sea of lilies until they reach a wall of water that extends into the sky. Fulfilling Ramandu's condition, Reepicheep paddles his coracle up the waterfall and is never again seen in Narnia (Lewis hints that he reaches Aslan's Country). Edmund, Eustace, and Lucy find a lamb, who transforms into Aslan and tells them that Edmund and Lucy will not return to Narnia – that they should learn to know him by another name in their own world. He then sends the children home.

In their own world, everyone remarks on how Eustace has changed and "you'd never know him for the same boy" - although his mother believes that Edmund and Lucy have been a bad influence on him.

  Chapters

  1. The Picture in the Bedroom
  2. On Board the Dawn Treader
  3. The Lone Islands
  4. What Caspian Did There
  5. The Storm and What Came of It
  6. The Adventures of Eustace
  7. How the Adventure Ended
  8. Two Narrow Escapes
  9. The Island of the Voices
  10. The Magician's Book
  11. The Dufflepuds Made Happy
  12. The Dark Island
  13. The Three Sleepers
  14. The Beginning of the End of the World
  15. The Wonders of the Last Sea
  16. The Very End of the World

  Differences between British and American editions

Several weeks or months after reading the proofs for the British edition of The Chronicles, Lewis read through the proofs for the American edition. While doing so, he made several changes to the text. When HarperCollins took over publication of the series in 1994 they made the unusual decision to ignore the changes that Lewis had made and use the earlier text as the standard for their editions.[2]

In Dawn Treader, Lewis made two changes; one minor and one of more substance. The minor change appears in the first chapter where Lewis changes the description of Eustace from "far too stupid to make anything up himself" to "quite incapable of making anything up himself". Paul Ford, author of Companion to Narnia, suggests that Lewis might have felt the need to soften the passage for his American readers or perhaps he was starting to like Eustace better.[3] Peter Schakel, author of Imagination and the arts in C.S. Lewis, notes that the passage should have been changed in both cases as "calling a character 'stupid' in a children's book is insensitive and unwise".[4] Both Schakel and Ford agree that it is not an accurate depiction of Eustace as Lewis describes him, and this too may be the reason for the change.

The more substantive change appears in Chapter 12, "The Dark Island", where Lewis rewrote the ending in a way that, Schakel maintains, improves the imaginative experience considerably.

The reader cannot [in this version] dismiss the island as unreal or as no longer existing: it is still there, and anyone who can get to Narnia still could get caught in it. More important, the inserted analogy, with its second-person pronouns, draws readers into the episode and evokes in them the same emotions the characters experience. This is no laughing matter, as the earlier version risks making it.[5]

A side by side comparison of the ending of chapter 12 follows:

British Edition Pre-1994 American Edition
In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of [...] grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.

“I reckon we’ve made pretty good fools of ourselves,” said Rynelf.

In a few moments [...] warm, blue world again. And just as there are moments when simply to lie in bed and see the daylight pouring through your window and to hear the cheerful voice of an early postman or milkman down below and to realise that it was only a dream: it wasn’t real, is so heavenly that it was very nearly worth having the nightmare in order to have the joy of waking, so they all felt when they came out of the dark. The brightness of [...] grime or scum.
Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.”

“What is it?” asked Caspian.

Lucy lost no time [...] Grant me a boon.”

“What is it?” asked Caspian.

“Never to bring me back there,” he said. He pointed astern. They all looked. But they saw only bright blue sea and bright blue sky. The Dark Island and the darkness had vanished for ever.

“Why!” cried Lord Rhoop. “You have destroyed it!”

“I don’t think it was us,” said Lucy.

“Never to ask me, nor to let any other ask me, what I have seen during my years on the Dark Island.”

“An easy boon, my Lord,” answered Caspian, and added with a shudder. “Ask you: I should think not. I would give all my treasure not to hear it.”

“Sire,” said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself.” “Sire,” said Drinian, [...] the clock round myself”
So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared. So all afternoon with great joy they sailed south-east with a fair wind, and the hump of darkness grew smaller and smaller astern. But nobody noticed when the albatross had disappeared.

  Main characters

  • Lucy Pevensie - the youngest of the four Pevensie children.
  • Edmund Pevensie - the next youngest.
  • Eustace Scrubb - a cousin of the four Pevensie siblings; Edmund and Lucy are staying with him at the house that Eustace shares with his parents.
  • Caspian X - the King of Narnia.
  • Reepicheep - a valiant mouse who is a main ally to King Caspian.
  • Lord Drinian - The Captain of the Dawn Treader.
  • Seven Great Lords of Narnia - Characters central to the plot; Caspian is aboard to the Dawn Treader to help find these lost Lords.

  Reception

Boucher and McComas found Voyage "not quite up to the high level set by previous Narnian adventures," they singled out Reepicheep for praise as "one of Lewis's finest imaginings."[6]

  Influences

Arguably, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the novel which shows the most influence from Lewis' Irish background. It is reminiscent of the Immram genre of Irish literature.[7][8] However, unlike such voyages, The Dawn Treader travels East, rather than West.

  Music

  Film, television, or theatrical adaptations

  • In 1983 the world premiere of the musical stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was produced by Northwestern College (Minnesota) at the Totino Fine Arts Center. Director: Carol Thomas; Libretto: Wayne Olson; Music and Lyrics: Kevin Norberg (ASCAP).
  • A stage adaptation of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader", written and directed by Ken Hill, designed by Sarah-Jane McClellan , with music by Brendan Healy, was first presented at the Newcastle Playhouse on 29th. Nov. 1985.
  • The BBC produced a TV miniseries of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1989); it was combined with the previous film and released as Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (see The Chronicles of Narnia (TV miniseries)).
  • BBC Radio produced a radio play based on the book in 1994.
  • Focus on the Family released a longer version as part of its complete production of all the Chronicles of Narnia.
  • The playscript for 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' was written by Erina Caradus and first performed in 2008. see http://narniaproductions.co.nz
  • In 2000 a musical version was written and produced by the Alternative Community School of Ithaca, NY
  • BG Touring Theatre company produced a version of the Glynn Robins stage adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

  Film adaptation

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third installment in The Chronicles of Narnia film series from Walden Media. Unlike the earlier two films, it was distributed by 20th Century Fox. Michael Apted took over as director from Andrew Adamson, who opted to produce with Mark Johnson, Perry Moore and Douglas Gresham. Will Poulter joined the cast as Eustace Scrubb, while Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson, and Tilda Swinton all returned.

The film had a wide theatrical release in traditional 2D, and a limited theatrical release in RealD 3D and Digital 3D in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom on December 10, 2010.

  Legacy

The song Voyage of the Dawn Treader by Bobby Wynn is based on 'The Chronicles of Narnia.' The spaceship Dawn Treader in Greg Bear's novel Anvil of Stars is presumably also named for the ship in this book.

The Dawntreader is the title of a song on Joni Mitchell's album Song to a Seagull.

  References

  1. ^ By English typographical conventions, both book titles and ship names are usually italicized when written. Since "Dawn Treader" is part of both, it should in theory be put in Roman text to signify this, but the title would then not be distinct from the context. To avoid confusion, the entire book title is italicized in this article, and the ship name only when mentioned separately from the book title.
  2. ^ Schakel, Peter (2002). Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds. University of Missouri Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8262-1407-2. 
  3. ^ Ford, Paul (2005). Companion to Narnia: A Complete Guide to the Magical World of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-06-079127-8. 
  4. ^ Schakel, Peter (2002). Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds. University of Missouri Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-8262-1407-2. 
  5. ^ Schakel, Peter (2002). Imagination and the Arts in C.S. Lewis: Journeying to Narnia and Other Worlds. University of Missouri Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8262-1407-2. 
  6. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, February 1953, p.74
  7. ^ Huttar, Charles A. (2009-06-02). ""Deep lies the sea-longing": inklings of home — page 10 — Mythlore". Findarticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0OON/is_1-2_26/ai_n21130446/pg_10/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. [dead link]
  8. ^ Duriez, pp80, 95

  Further reading

  External links

   
               

 

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