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"GREAT WAR": While the Great War is usually used in reference to World War I, in scholarship, the term applies to a long-running argument or philosophical discussion between C.S. Lewis and his friend, Owen Barfield. Barfield described The Great War as "an intense interchange of philosophical opinions" and Lewis called it "an almost incessant disputation, sometimes by letter and sometimes face to face, which lasts for years" (qtd. in Duriez 83). The dialogue between them started around 1922, when Barfield became an anthroposophist, and lasted until about 1931, when Lewis converted to Christianity. The primary focus of the debate was the nature of the imagination and metaphor, and Lewis claimed Barfield cured him of , instilling in him a loathing of modernism (83).
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In fantasy literature, a similar motif frequently appears. In Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydein, for instance, Taran the Assistant-Pigkeeper must leave behind the confines of the farm when events thrust him into the wilds of the forest. As part of his adventures in the forest, he must learn true wisdom and maturity while separated from his normal (stifling) support network on the farm. At the end of his adventures, rather than leaving for the paradise Summer Country, he chooses to return to his original community as a leader to work with the people he once spurned. In the first half of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, the journey to Narnia is a sort of Green World hidden in a wardrobe. The young children enter this Green World, experience spiritual revelations, and then return (like Eustace) to the real world of London as better people, altered by the experience of being thrust into a beautiful wonderland where magic is real and mundane rules no longer seem to apply. In Tolkien's The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, various hobbits live a peaceful (but dull) bourgeois existence in the Shire, but adventures call them to dangerous journeys in the unfamiliar wilds, and at the end of the tale, they return back to the Shire. Their experiences abroad render them now able to confront new evils that have taken root in their own little world, such as the disgraced Saruman's attempt at seizing power there.