Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Walter Wangerin Jr

Expand Messages
  • Stolzi
    But what were Ursula s grounds for evisceration? I assume she is a better critic than to dis him because their world-views don t coincide? Mine probably does
    Message 1 of 13 , May 19 11:16 AM
      But what were Ursula's grounds for evisceration? I assume she is a better
      critic than to dis him because their world-views don't coincide?

      Mine probably does coincide pretty closely with Wangerin's, but I can't hail
      him as a new CS Lewis or George MacDonald or anything. The style of ST.
      JULIAN is way overwrought, and the mistakes in Latin really get my goat. I
      am doubtful how far his tale tracks with the legend of St Julian, but not
      having researched it, I can't speak to that.

      And David, what do you mean about his "manner of thinking"?

      Diamond Proudbrook.
    • David Bratman
      This is abridged, for both space and copyright reasons, without ellipses, from Le Guin s _Dancing at the Edge of the World_, p. 253-5. Why did Walter Wangerin
      Message 2 of 13 , May 19 12:31 PM
        This is abridged, for both space and copyright reasons, without ellipses,
        from Le Guin's _Dancing at the Edge of the World_, p. 253-5.

        Why did Walter Wangerin Jr. use this title for his book, which has nothing
        to do with Ireland, ancient or modern? There is an allegorical dun cow,
        but you can write a book with a whale in it without calling it _Moby Dick_.
        So this book which isn't _The Book of the Dun Cow_ is about this Rooster
        (which shows that it's American; if it was a British bird it would be a
        Cock, te-he, quoth she). The Rooster is Good. There is also an Evil
        Rooster. One is on God's side - guess which one. The other is on the side
        of a mighty black serpent who lives under the earth. Because he is evil,
        God damns the serpent, forcing him to live underground. No, no, dummy, the
        _serpent_ is evil, not God. How do I know? Because the author says so.
        The serpent is BAD, and God is GOOD, and you take that on faith. You'd
        better, because here it is: the serpent's evil plan:
        "He would whirl his tail with such power that when it hit the earth, that
        planet would be cracked from its fixed position at the center of things.
        He would make it little among the planets and nothing among the suns. He
        would surround it with cold, empty space. And he would cancel heaven from
        above it."
        Like Copernicus. Like Galileo. Like Newton, like Einstein - BAD right to
        the core.
        Females are beyootiful, dootiful, divinely inspired at times, and God made
        them to Help Men. Leaders, of course, are male. All leaders. Even when
        we're talking about ants (this is an animal fable, not the Old Testament),
        the Leader of the Ants has to be a Man Ant. Yep.
        The book is so sloppy it's hard to talk about. For instance, there's a
        "Language of Power," which is Latin. If there's one thing about languages
        of power, it's that they _have_ to be used right. Right? Well, the phrase
        "crows potens," to mean powerful cockadoodles, doesn't hold together. And
        the allegorical dog's name, Mundo Cani, seems to mean "dog-world," in the
        ablative case, for some reason. If the author meant "dog of the world," I
        think it would be Mundi Canis. But I don't know what he means. He doesn't
        seem to care. Faith is all you need.
      • Stolzi
        OK, here s the Golden Legend version, which is somewhat (only somewhat) like Wangerin s novel http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stj31001.htm Diamond
        Message 3 of 13 , May 19 12:32 PM
          OK, here's the Golden Legend version, which is somewhat (only somewhat) like Wangerin's novel

          http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stj31001.htm

          Diamond Proudbrook




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Stolzi
          Well, I think her views dooz (sorry, couldn t resist the rhyme) sneak in there. But thanks for the quotes, David. I do observe his Latin was sloppy back then,
          Message 4 of 13 , May 19 1:10 PM
            Well, I think her views dooz (sorry, couldn't resist the rhyme) sneak in there. But thanks for the quotes, David. I do observe his Latin was sloppy back then, too.

            And speaking of sloppy, when my schoolmates and I said or wrote "It's about this rooster..." the schoolmarm would reprimand us for using "this" in that way.

            Speaking of "dooz," although I can't quite trust my aging ears, this morning on local news I believe I heard the announcer saying that Nashvilleans would now be able to drive across the "booz arts" bridge on Shelby St. That's "booz" spelled "beaux," I do believe!


            Diamond Proudbrook



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
            Hmmm... thanks, David. My impression of LeGuin s Dancing essays are that they are really a collection of personal thoughts in process, not scholarship really.
            Message 5 of 13 , May 19 2:23 PM
              Hmmm... thanks, David.

              My impression of LeGuin's Dancing essays are that they are really a
              collection of personal thoughts in process, not scholarship really.
              Obviously she was a bit vexed by the things she mentions (about Dun Cow),
              but I think this is really a case of personal taste in books as much as
              anything. It's like not sharing someone else's taste in spouses. IMO and
              all that.

              Like I said, I am only partway through that book, but I thought her
              foreward to the edition I have was enlightening, talking about her
              perspective changing and suchlike. Why am I having such a deja-vu moment
              right now?

              I wonder what she would have to say about the Duncton books. Aside from
              when the MESSAGE gets a bit overbearing, with the Holy Mole bits and all, I
              think those were smashingly original and very well placed in geography as
              well.

              Lizzie

              Elizabeth Apgar Triano
              lizziewriter@...
              amor vincit omnia
            • David Bratman
              ... Of course. Never claimed to be anything else. She s done some scholarship, though: her essay on Tolkien in Meditations on Middle-earth (reprinted in
              Message 6 of 13 , May 20 7:48 AM
                At 05:23 PM 5/19/2004 -0400, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:

                >My impression of LeGuin's Dancing essays are that they are really a
                >collection of personal thoughts in process, not scholarship really.

                Of course. Never claimed to be anything else. She's done some
                scholarship, though: her essay on Tolkien in "Meditations on Middle-earth"
                (reprinted in her new essay collection "The Wave in the Mind" is profound
                scholarship.

                >Obviously she was a bit vexed by the things she mentions (about Dun Cow),
                >but I think this is really a case of personal taste in books as much as
                >anything.

                Nevertheless she is discussing the book, and anyone who wishes to defend it
                should be capable of either rebutting her criticisms or explaining why they
                don't matter. Saying one likes the book anyway may be true, but doesn't
                contribute anything to the discussion.

                - DB
              • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                Of course. Never claimed to be anything else. She s done some scholarship, though: her essay on Tolkien in Meditations on Middle-earth (reprinted in her new
                Message 7 of 13 , May 21 6:36 AM
                  Of course. Never claimed to be anything else. She's done some
                  scholarship, though: her essay on Tolkien in "Meditations on Middle-earth"
                  (reprinted in her new essay collection "The Wave in the Mind" is profound
                  scholarship. >>

                  Yes, she has. I will have to look at that one later.


                  Nevertheless she is discussing the book, and anyone who wishes to defend it
                  should be capable of either rebutting her criticisms or explaining why they
                  don't matter. Saying one likes the book anyway may be true, but doesn't
                  contribute anything to the discussion. >>

                  Sorry. I have to disagree. Sometimes it is hard to put things into words.
                  Sometimes one has to start with a non-specific idea. Of course, different
                  people have different ground rules for what constitutes a discussion.

                  Lizzie

                  Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                  lizziewriter@...
                  amor vincit omnia
                • David Bratman
                  ... Well, think about it, then. If you liked Dun Cow (I don t recall whether you said you did), start with this: are Le Guin s criticisms incorrect, or are
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 21 7:12 AM
                    At 09:36 AM 5/21/2004 -0400, Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:
                    >Sorry. I have to disagree. Sometimes it is hard to put things into words.
                    >Sometimes one has to start with a non-specific idea. Of course, different
                    >people have different ground rules for what constitutes a discussion.

                    Well, think about it, then. If you liked "Dun Cow" (I don't recall whether
                    you said you did), start with this: are Le Guin's criticisms incorrect, or
                    are they correct but just don't matter?

                    DB
                  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                    Well, think about it, then. If you liked Dun Cow (I don t recall whether you said you did), start with this: are Le Guin s criticisms incorrect, or are they
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 21 7:21 AM
                      Well, think about it, then. If you liked "Dun Cow" (I don't recall whether
                      you said you did), start with this: are Le Guin's criticisms incorrect, or
                      are they correct but just don't matter? >>

                      It was a long time ago, and my opinion of Dun Cow might be different today.
                      The argument is a difficult one for me, as one of my fears about my own
                      writing is that I may have invented some inappropriate pseudo-words. But
                      to answer your question to the best of my ability: they may be correct,
                      but they didn't matter to me as I don't have the background in Latin and at
                      least at the time the sexism was bearable. Today, I might be more
                      critical, not of the Latin but of the various characterizations. My Latin
                      is nearly nonexistant (nonexistent?).

                      LeGuin is a more advanced feminist than I am, and more eloquent. Perhaps
                      when I am the age she is now I will have evolved further.

                      Lizzie

                      Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                      lizziewriter@...
                      amor vincit omnia
                    • Stolzi
                      ... From: David Bratman To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 2:31 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Le Guin on Wangerin OK, I ll take a few shots.
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 21 7:38 AM
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: David Bratman
                        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 2:31 PM
                        Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Le Guin on Wangerin

                        OK, I'll take a few shots.

                        So this book which isn't _The Book of the Dun Cow_ is about this Rooster
                        (which shows that it's American; if it was a British bird it would be a
                        Cock, te-he, quoth she).


                        Lame attempt at slightly dirty humor does not prove anything about the book.


                        The Rooster is Good. There is also an Evil
                        Rooster. One is on God's side - guess which one. The other is on the side
                        of a mighty black serpent who lives under the earth. Because he is evil,
                        God damns the serpent, forcing him to live underground. No, no, dummy, the
                        _serpent_ is evil, not God. How do I know? Because the author says so.
                        The serpent is BAD, and God is GOOD, and you take that on faith.


                        Does Ursula object to any portrayal of good and evil in literature? That
                        would write off a great deal of the world's literature.


                        You'd better, because here it is: the serpent's evil plan:
                        "He would whirl his tail with such power that when it hit the earth, that
                        planet would be cracked from its fixed position at the center of things.
                        He would make it little among the planets and nothing among the suns. He
                        would surround it with cold, empty space. And he would cancel heaven from
                        above it."
                        Like Copernicus. Like Galileo. Like Newton, like Einstein - BAD right to
                        the core.


                        If the author has postulated a geocentric universe, we need to know why he
                        does it before we accuse him of having attacked all the lofty names of
                        Science which Ursula brings in here. Did she attack Narnia for being a flat
                        world? Does anyone in Earthsea know or care about Earthsea's cosmology?


                        Females are beyootiful, dootiful, divinely inspired at times, and God made
                        them to Help Men. Leaders, of course, are male. All leaders. Even when
                        we're talking about ants (this is an animal fable, not the Old Testament),
                        the Leader of the Ants has to be a Man Ant. Yep.


                        Ah you see, here he has tromped upon her feminist beliefs, which really have
                        nothing to do with the goodness or badness of the book =per se=. Did Ursula
                        object to the social structure of WATERSHIP DOWN, which according to some
                        critics bore little resemblance to the actual life of rabbits?


                        The book is so sloppy it's hard to talk about. For instance, there's a
                        "Language of Power," which is Latin. If there's one thing about languages
                        of power, it's that they _have_ to be used right. Right? Well, the phrase
                        "crows potens," to mean powerful cockadoodles, doesn't hold together. And
                        the allegorical dog's name, Mundo Cani, seems to mean "dog-world," in the
                        ablative case, for some reason. If the author meant "dog of the world," I
                        think it would be Mundi Canis. But I don't know what he means. He doesn't
                        seem to care. Faith is all you need.


                        If Wangerin wants to use "dog-Latin" (how appropriate to an animal fable) I
                        suppose he has the right. Many more praised writers have messed about with
                        language (e.g. James Joyce) I'm not sure she has her ablatives right, but
                        it's a long time since I studied Latin. I already have objected here to
                        some bad Latin in his new book ST JULIAN, where dog-Latin is really
                        inappropriate.

                        As for "Faith is all you need," it surely has nothing to do with the
                        author's use of Latin or the name of his dog, it's just one more parting
                        shot by Ursula at the religion she dislikes.

                        Diamond Proudbrook
                      • David Bratman
                        ... Remembering that what Le Guin wrote was meant as a snipe, and not a serious critique ... ... No, she s criticizing what looks like Wangerin s attempt to
                        Message 11 of 13 , May 21 8:55 AM
                          At 09:38 AM 5/21/2004 -0500, Stolzi wrote:
                          >OK, I'll take a few shots.

                          Remembering that what Le Guin wrote was meant as a snipe, and not a serious
                          critique ...


                          >>So this book which isn't _The Book of the Dun Cow_ is about this Rooster
                          >>(which shows that it's American; if it was a British bird it would be a
                          >>Cock, te-he, quoth she).
                          >
                          >Lame attempt at slightly dirty humor does not prove anything about the book.

                          No, she's criticizing what looks like Wangerin's attempt to _avoid_
                          anything that might look like slightly dirty humor. Wangerin may be
                          American, but his title is Irish, and the context is puzzlement at his
                          choice of this title for a book which has nothing to do with the book it
                          took the name of.


                          >> The Rooster is Good. There is also an Evil
                          >>Rooster. One is on God's side - guess which one. The other is on the side
                          >>of a mighty black serpent who lives under the earth. Because he is evil,
                          >>God damns the serpent, forcing him to live underground. No, no, dummy, the
                          >>_serpent_ is evil, not God. How do I know? Because the author says so.
                          >>The serpent is BAD, and God is GOOD, and you take that on faith.
                          >
                          >Does Ursula object to any portrayal of good and evil in literature? That
                          >would write off a great deal of the world's literature.

                          Of course she doesn't. She's objecting to BAD that's defined as BAD
                          because it's BAD. She says that quite specifically. With Tolkien's
                          villains, you can tell what they're doing that's bad, and why they're doing
                          it. Also, while Wangerin's serpent has been specifically damned by God,
                          Sauron and Saruman descend into the hells we see them in purely by their
                          own arrogance and self-righteousness. Wangerin sounds Calvinist here;
                          Tolkien is much closer to the keen insights of Lewis's _The Great Divorce_.


                          >>You'd better, because here it is: the serpent's evil plan:
                          >>"He would whirl his tail with such power that when it hit the earth, that
                          >>planet would be cracked from its fixed position at the center of things.
                          >>He would make it little among the planets and nothing among the suns. He
                          >>would surround it with cold, empty space. And he would cancel heaven from
                          >>above it."
                          >>Like Copernicus. Like Galileo. Like Newton, like Einstein - BAD right to
                          >>the core.
                          >
                          >If the author has postulated a geocentric universe, we need to know why he
                          >does it before we accuse him of having attacked all the lofty names of
                          >Science which Ursula brings in here. Did she attack Narnia for being a flat
                          >world? Does anyone in Earthsea know or care about Earthsea's cosmology?

                          No, because the problem is not that Wangerin's universe is geocentric; it's
                          that evil consists of changing it to the form of universe proposed by
                          science. I don't recall that the Witch's evil plans for Narnia included
                          changing its cosmology.

                          Again, contrast with Tolkien. In his cosmology, the roundness of the world
                          was no-one's evil plan, but was imposed by God as a punishment for his
                          creatures' evil, much as shame and expulsion from Eden were imposed in
                          Genesis. When Tolkien drafted a rewrite in which the world was round from
                          the beginning, he did so in an attempt to fit his story to known scientific
                          fact, not with a heavy moral agenda.


                          >>Females are beyootiful, dootiful, divinely inspired at times, and God made
                          >>them to Help Men. Leaders, of course, are male. All leaders. Even when
                          >>we're talking about ants (this is an animal fable, not the Old Testament),
                          >>the Leader of the Ants has to be a Man Ant. Yep.
                          >
                          >Ah you see, here he has tromped upon her feminist beliefs, which really have
                          >nothing to do with the goodness or badness of the book =per se=. Did Ursula
                          >object to the social structure of WATERSHIP DOWN, which according to some
                          >critics bore little resemblance to the actual life of rabbits?

                          Yes, as a matter of fact she does object to _Watership Down_'s
                          unnecessarily and inaccurately male-heavy social structure.

                          But Adams's females, unlike Wangerin's, are tough and honorable in their
                          own right, and she does not object to that.

                          This is not about feminist correctness, but about the presence of an
                          extreme opposite. Even people who know nothing about rabbit social
                          structure know that ants have a queen. If you make the ants' leader male,
                          you are not reverting to a default, but imposing your own highly prejudiced
                          view.


                          >If Wangerin wants to use "dog-Latin" (how appropriate to an animal fable) I
                          >suppose he has the right. Many more praised writers have messed about with
                          >language (e.g. James Joyce) I'm not sure she has her ablatives right, but
                          >it's a long time since I studied Latin. I already have objected here to
                          >some bad Latin in his new book ST JULIAN, where dog-Latin is really
                          >inappropriate.

                          Before you mess around with a language, you have to show that you know it.
                          Joyce's language play is virtuosity, not sloppiness, and it's not hard to
                          tell the difference. Nor is Wangerin presenting a Mrs Malaprop, in which
                          the author deliberately has the character make mistakes.

                          Le Guin does say, in a part I did not quote, that she's not sure she has
                          her Latin right either. But then she's not the one using bad Latin in a novel.


                          >As for "Faith is all you need," it surely has nothing to do with the
                          >author's use of Latin or the name of his dog, it's just one more parting
                          >shot by Ursula at the religion she dislikes.

                          No, it's a dig at Wangerin's general mindset. You have to have faith that
                          the Latin works; you have to have faith that the serpent is BAD. The
                          author is disinclined to do the work or show the reader.

                          - David Bratman
                        • alexeik@aol.com
                          In a message dated 5/21/4 4:04:51 PM, David Bratman wrote:
                          Message 12 of 13 , May 21 9:56 AM
                            In a message dated 5/21/4 4:04:51 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                            <<Wangerin may be
                            American, but his title is Irish, and the context is puzzlement at his
                            choice of this title for a book which has nothing to do with the book it
                            took the name of.>>

                            I didn't have a problem with that. The Irish _Lebor na hUidre_ (Book of the
                            Dun Cow) has a picturesque name, but in fact that just identifies it as a
                            manuscript collection bound in a brown cowhide. I can easily put myself in the
                            position of someone who, disappointed that a book with such an evocative title is
                            not in fact a story about a Dun Cow, becomes inspired to create a book that
                            *is*.
                            Alexei
                          • David Bratman
                            ... But it isn t, not really. It s about the rooster and the serpent. The dun cow sort of lurks somewhere. Le Guin writes: There is an allegorical dun cow,
                            Message 13 of 13 , May 21 10:14 AM
                              At 12:56 PM 5/21/2004 -0400, alexeik@... wrote:

                              >I can easily put myself in the position of someone who,
                              >disappointed that a book with such an evocative title is
                              >not in fact a story about a Dun Cow, becomes inspired to
                              >create a book that *is*.

                              But it isn't, not really. It's about the rooster and the serpent. The dun
                              cow sort of lurks somewhere. Le Guin writes: "There is an allegorical dun
                              cow, but you can write a book with a whale in it without calling it _Moby
                              Dick_."

                              Of course, John Rateliff in his "Classics of Fantasy" essay was moved to
                              explain that "the title _Watership Down_ refers not to some aquatic
                              disaster but to the place where the story takes place." But it's not as if
                              it were previously a well-known place name, or the title of another book.

                              - David Bratman
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.