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15969Re: [mythsoc] Defense of Narnia against Pullman

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    Dec 7, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 11:07:34 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Defense of Narnia against Pullman

      <<So ... when Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself," Pullman thinks he
      means, "Practice eros with your neighbor"? Wouldn't that be a violation of a
      Commandment or two? What does Pullman think "Love the Lord your God with all
      your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" means?

      This seems an insane interpretation of Pullman, and yet ... for any broader
      meaning of the word "love" it's equally insane to say that there's no trace of
      it in Narnia. To take it to absolute rock bottom, Edmund loves Turkish Delight,
      for ghu's sake.>>
      Nowhere in _His Dark Materials_ (or in any of his criticism of Lewis that I've read) does Pullman refer in any way to Christian scripture, or indeed engage in any kind of meaningful argument with Christian belief or doctrine. "The Church" is presented as a rigid and oppressive hierarchy, but bereft of any consistent belief system, other than unquestioning submission to "the Authority". Jesus never appears.
      In general, Pullman seems to equate Christianity with the denial of pleasure and little else. In specific relation to Lewis, my impression is that his main concern is the fate of Susan, which he sees as the main scandal of Narnia. He attributes Lewis's disapproval of Susan not to her having become shallow and vain in her adolescence (as Lewis describes), but to her having undergone sexual awakening. The whole message of Narnia, then, becomes one of denial of sensual pleasure, and thus "life-denying".
      While "Turkish Delight" in LWW does have a connotation of sensual pleasure, the fact that it plays a negative role would only exarcebate Pullman's disapproval. In _The Amber Spyglass_ he creates a counter to it, when his ex-nun character loses her faith after eating marzipan -- rediscovering sensual pleasure, which directly reconnects her to Eros.
      I do think, on the evidence, that this is how Pullman's interpretation of Narnia leads to his charge that it has no "love".

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