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16900Re: Landscape With Dragons

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  • jef.murray
    Aug 28, 2006
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      Greetings!

      I have to take exception here. O'Brien is not a
      fundamentalist, (an orthodox Catholic could never
      be so considered) and "Landscape with Dragons" is hardly
      an anti-fantasy diatribe. O'Brien is very highly
      respected as a Catholic writer and artist, and his own
      books have touched and inspired millions.

      "Landscape with Dragons" may not appeal to the
      tastes of many pro-fantasy folk, but it provides
      insightful commentary on how modernism has coopted
      images that traditionally were used to denote evil. It
      has "watered them down" for general consumption;
      thereby reducing them to a bland relativist mishmash
      that makes no sense and teaches no worthwhile truths.

      As an example of this, I offer for your
      consideration the written version of the original two
      "Jungle Books" by Kipling versus the Disney film. The
      books were ofttimes dark and dealt with many adult
      themes. Compare and contrast them with the Disney
      desecration and you have a sense of some of the issues
      O'Brien deals with in "Landscape".

      Another, perhaps more accurate, comparison would be
      to look at "The Lord of the Rings" in comparison to
      the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. The former has deep
      traditional lessons to impart to the reader, and draws
      on the wisdom of myth and northern legend for these.
      The latter is a moralistic mess whose ultimate
      conclusion, as far as I could ever tell, was that
      nothing really matters and that one achieves salvation
      through premarital sex. The former is a book that
      draws on a "premodern" mindset; the latter is, sadly,
      extremely modern.

      Jef

      P.S. Yes, there _are_ cultures that depict dragons as
      ambivalent or even good omens. But O'Brien is dealing
      with occidental, not oriental, tradition and literature.
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