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Lewis in the media

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  • David Bratman
    And now it s the turn of The New Yorker s Adam Gopnik to write a half-baked article on Lewis:
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 15, 2005
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      And now it's the turn of The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik to write a half-baked
      article on Lewis:

      <http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/051121crat_atlarge>
    • Jay Hershberger
      Aye-yiy-yiy! Where to begin?!? Cheers, Jay Hershberger Moorhead, MN ... From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 15, 2005
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        Aye-yiy-yiy! Where to begin?!?

        Cheers,

        Jay Hershberger
        Moorhead, MN

        -----Original Message-----
        From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
        Of David Bratman
        Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:15 AM
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [mythsoc] Lewis in the media

        And now it's the turn of The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik to write a
        half-baked
        article on Lewis:

        <http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/051121crat_atlarge>



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      • Mike Foster
        All of a sudden we seem to be in a literary freeway being cut off by unturnsignally cellphonetalking bubblebrains in SUVs the size of Texas. I ll retire to
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 15, 2005
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          All of a sudden we seem to be in a literary freeway being cut off by
          unturnsignally cellphonetalking bubblebrains in SUVs the size of Texas.

          I'll retire to bedlam, or rather, Indianapolis for the Tolkien film
          props/custumes & the Norman Rockwell exhibit with dioramas and the
          Arts&Crafts & Impressionists at the art museum, taking Doug Gresham's
          book whose first typo appears on p. 4.

          Cheers,
          Mike
          rural Metamora, Illinois

          Jay Hershberger wrote:

          >Aye-yiy-yiy! Where to begin?!?
          >
          >Cheers,
          >
          >Jay Hershberger
          >Moorhead, MN
          >
          >-----Original Message-----
          >From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          >Of David Bratman
          >Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:15 AM
          >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [mythsoc] Lewis in the media
          >
          >And now it's the turn of The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik to write a
          >half-baked
          >article on Lewis:
          >
          ><http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/051121crat_atlarge
        • Patrick Wynne
          ... Well, I m no Lewis expert, but I do know a thing or two about Tolkien. How about THIS quote as an indicator of the author s total and utter cluelessness? :
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 15, 2005
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            On Nov 15, 2005, at 6:59 AM, Jay Hershberger wrote:

            > Aye-yiy-yiy! Where to begin?!?

            Well, I'm no Lewis expert, but I do know a thing or two about
            Tolkien. How about THIS quote as an indicator of the author's
            total and utter cluelessness? :

            "Though Tolkien was certainly a devout Catholic, there is no way
            in which �The Lord of the Rings� is a Christian book, much less a
            Catholic allegory. The Blessed Land across the sea is a retreat for
            the already immortal, not, except for Frodo, a reward for the afflicted;
            dead is dead. The pathos of Aragorn and Arwen�s marriage is that,
            after Aragorn�s death, they will never meet again, in Valinor or
            elsewhere."

            In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!"

            -- Pat

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Stolzi
            ... From: David Bratman ... Just for starters He was born in 1898, into a rough and ready but pious Ulster Protestant family in
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 15, 2005
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "David Bratman" <dbratman@...>



              > And now it's the turn of The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik to write a
              > half-baked
              > article on Lewis:
              >
              > <http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/051121crat_atlarge>


              Just for starters

              ' He was born in 1898, into a rough and ready but pious Ulster Protestant
              family in Belfast; his father was dense and eccentric-a man with "more power
              of confusing an issue or taking up a fact wrongly than any man I have ever
              met," his exasperated son wrote much later-and his mother, who died before
              Lewis turned ten, was warm and loving and simple '

              "Simple" is not the word for Florence Hamilton Lewis, warm and loving as she
              may have been. Nor was Albert "dense" if that means "stupid." Nor am I
              sure how this definitely upper-crust bourgeois family becomes "rough and
              ready" in the writer's mind.

              On a minor point, it looks to me like the savagery inflicted on the boy
              Lewis, while real enough, and while it may have affected his sexual
              development certainly, came before Malvern, a school about which he has
              other complaints to make.

              ' (He also took up with a much older married woman, with whom he had a long
              affair that may have had a sadomasochistic tinge.) '

              Or may have involved dressing up as bears. Or "may have had" almost
              anything. In the total absence of any evidence but surmise.

              ' It was through the intervention of the secretive and personally troubled
              Tolkien, however, that Lewis finally made the turn toward orthodox
              Christianity. '

              Ooh! and doesn't that make Tolkien sound weird! Surely if anybody was
              being 'secretive,' it was Lewis with Janie Moore... not Tolkien with his
              very public wife and four children? Or does he mean the private language
              and tales which were Tolkien's hobby? We are not told. Was Tolkien more
              'troubled' than any other adult who'd been through the war, had financial
              difficulties, practiced with commitment an unpopular religion? I doubt it -
              but we've got to make that conversion sound dubious.

              I'd better stop picking nits, but I do question the tone of ensuing
              paragraphs which try to make Lewis a belligerent defender of Anglicanism
              above all other Christian creeds. That's quite misleading and unfair.

              Half-baked is about right, David. And ... one wishes that the NEW YORKER
              writer, and his editors, could at least have gotten the correct title of A
              GRIEF OBSERVED.

              Diamond Proudbrook
            • Stolzi
              ... From: Mike Foster To: Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 7:34 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Lewis in the
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 17, 2005
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Mike Foster" <mafoster@...>
                To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 7:34 AM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Lewis in the media


                > All of a sudden we seem to be in a literary freeway being cut off by
                > unturnsignally cellphonetalking bubblebrains in SUVs the size of Texas.

                Yep, and the half-baked articles will continue to issue forth at least until
                the film is released, and for some time afterwards providing the film is
                successful, as I rather expect it will be.

                Diamond Proudbrook
              • Mike Foster
                Just back w/ Jo & Martha from overnighter to Indianapolis & back for JRRT-Jackson films & props & videos & interactiveTolkien [even more stunning than London
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 17, 2005
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                  Just back w/ Jo & Martha from overnighter to Indianapolis & back for
                  JRRT-Jackson films & props & videos & interactiveTolkien [even more
                  stunning than London show b/c more stuff to see & do--we cd. be CGI
                  warriors, get S-D laser image scan that turns yr. face to stone bust,
                  &c.--and not cattle-call-crowded] exhibit at Indy State Museum, likewise
                  fulsome & interactive Norman Rockwell [surpsingly fine again! very
                  hobbitish] at the Children's Museum, and James Dean photos--now there's
                  a triad.

                  Both Rockwell & Tolkien shows run into '06. Worth a trek if you fancy
                  such stuff.

                  Mike


                  Mike Foster wrote:

                  >All of a sudden we seem to be in a literary freeway being cut off by
                  >unturnsignally cellphonetalking bubblebrains in SUVs the size of Texas.
                  >
                  >I'll retire to bedlam, or rather, Indianapolis for the Tolkien film
                  >props/custumes & the Norman Rockwell exhibit with dioramas and the
                  >Arts&Crafts & Impressionists at the art museum, taking Doug Gresham's
                  >book whose first typo appears on p. 4.
                  >
                  >Cheers,
                  >Mike
                  >rural Metamora, Illinois
                  >
                  >Jay Hershberger wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>Aye-yiy-yiy! Where to begin?!?
                  >>
                  >>Cheers,
                  >>
                  >>Jay Hershberger
                  >>Moorhead, MN
                  >>
                  >>-----Original Message-----
                  >>From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  >>Of David Bratman
                  >>Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 3:15 AM
                  >>To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  >>Subject: [mythsoc] Lewis in the media
                  >>
                  >>And now it's the turn of The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik to write a
                  >>half-baked
                  >>article on Lewis:
                  >>
                  >><http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/articles/051121crat_atlarge
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >


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                • WendellWag@aol.com
                  Could people give us a list of the errors in the Lewis article in _The New Yorker_? If you d prefer, you can send it to me privately by E-mail. I d like to
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 17, 2005
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                    Could people give us a list of the errors in the Lewis article in _The New
                    Yorker_? If you'd prefer, you can send it to me privately by E-mail. I'd
                    like to write a letter to them and it would be useful to have a list of the
                    errors to refer to. I'd like to know particularly about straight errors of fact
                    in the article. I actually don't dislike the article as much as I thought I
                    would. It contains a few interesting insights, although on the whole it
                    misses the point.

                    Wendell Wagner


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David Bratman
                    ... Well, here s some problems. Hastily written, so feel free to quibble with ... Lots of people appear in stained glass windows. As evidence of Lewis being
                    Message 9 of 11 , Nov 17, 2005
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                      At 11:57 PM 11/17/2005 -0500, Wendell Wagner wrote:
                      >Could people give us a list of the errors in the Lewis article in _The New
                      >Yorker_?

                      Well, here's some problems. Hastily written, so feel free to quibble with
                      these objections:

                      >In America, Lewis is a figure who has been incised on stained glass—truly:
                      >there’s a stained-glass window with Lewis in it in a church in Monrovia,
                      >California

                      Lots of people appear in stained glass windows. As evidence of Lewis being
                      inappropriately revered, this is inane. The Alice in Wonderland characters
                      appear in stained glass windows throughout England. Does that make them
                      hostage to religious cults?

                      >He also took up with a much older married woman, with whom he had a long
                      >affair that may have had a sadomasochistic tinge.

                      It may have had a lot of things, but there's no evidence for any of it.
                      Indeed, the existence of any sexual relationship between them at all -
                      however likely - is pure speculation. It's unprofessional of a writer to
                      treat a fairly well-founded speculation as solid fact in order to build a
                      completely unfounded speculation on top of it.

                      >Tolkien thought that literature ended at 1100.

                      1400, actually, but who's counting? Tolkien's and Lewis's argument was
                      that earlier literature, because of its difficulty and mental distance from
                      us, was a proper study of higher education. Later literature students read
                      for their own pleasure (and in those days, they did). They didn't need a
                      college course to learn it. The kind of hermetic lit-crit since used to
                      justify the higher study of modern literature had not yet become ubiquitous.

                      >[Tolkien said that]
                      >Language, and the consciousness it reflected, was intrinsically magical. One
                      >had to become religious to save the magic, not to be saved from it.

                      This is gobbledegook that means nothing and is certainly not what Tolkien said.

                      >Lewis insists that the Anglican creed isn’t one spiritual path among others
                      >but the single cosmic truth that extends from the farthest reach of the
                      >universe to the house next door.

                      The author needs to be instructed what the word "Mere" as in "Mere
                      Christianity" means. Lewis had his personal prejudices as an Anglican, but
                      he emphatically held that Christianity tout court - not Anglicanism
                      specifically - was the road to God. (He even argued, both in his theology
                      and in the Narnia books, that aspects of the truth are visible to
                      non-Christians as well.)

                      Consequently the following sentence,

                      >He is never troubled by the funny coincidence that this one staggering
                      >cosmic truth also happens to be the established religion of his own tribe,
                      >supported by every institution of the state, and reinforced by the
                      >university he works in

                      is meaningless. There's no coincidence at all, as he never held
                      Anglicanism to be the sole bearer of the truth. Again this is not to be
                      confused with his personal prejudices, or his personal preferences as a
                      churchgoer.

                      >his conscience as a writer lets him see that the marvellous should be there
                      >for its own marvellous sake, just as imaginative myth, but his Christian
                      >duty insists that the marvellous must (to use his own giveaway language) be
                      >reinfected with belief.

                      Just possibly his mythic imagination, being that of a Christian, took
                      Christian shape on its own initiative.

                      [in the Space trilogy]
                      >the bad scientists are fat and smelly, or atheists.

                      Unless this is a grossly prejudiced dig at Filostrato (who is only one of a
                      number of "bad scientists" in the trilogy), I have no idea what it refers to.

                      >A powerful lion ... is a Mithraic, not a Christian, myth.

                      Suggest that the author read up on the concept of "Christ the King."

                      >Tolkien hated the Narnia books, despite Lewis’s avid sponsorship of
                      >Tolkien’s own mythology, because he hated to see an imagination constrained
                      >by the allegorical impulse.

                      The author has utterly confused two separate statements of Tolkien's.

                      >there is no way in which “The Lord of the Rings” is a Christian book

                      It is utterly suffused in Christian morality and Catholic imagery.

                      >The pathos of Aragorn and Arwen’s marriage is that, after Aragorn’s death,
                      >they will never meet again, in Valinor or elsewhere.

                      Hasn't read the story, has he? "In sorrow we must go, but not in despair.
                      Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond
                      them is more than memory."

                      >She drove away his more bearishly single-minded Oxford friends, including
                      >Tolkien.

                      Not really. What hurt Tolkien's feelings is that Lewis didn't tell him he
                      was marrying.

                      >After she Yokoishly insinuated herself into Lewis’s life

                      Now that's an insult to Yoko! It was John who insisted that she go
                      everywhere with him. Joy was more insinuating than that, but it's worth
                      noting that she's never recorded as attending any Inklings pub sessions.

                      > “A Grief Portrayed,” one of the finest books written about mourning

                      Which it is, except that that is not its title.
                    • Nessime
                      ... _The New Yorker_? ... I d also suggest a reading of Revelations Chapter 5, in particular the reference to the Lion of Judah in vs 5: Then one of the
                      Message 10 of 11 , Nov 19, 2005
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                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...> wrote:
                        >
                        > At 11:57 PM 11/17/2005 -0500, Wendell Wagner wrote:
                        > >Could people give us a list of the errors in the Lewis article in
                        _The New Yorker_?


                        > >A powerful lion ... is a Mithraic, not a Christian, myth.
                        >
                        > Suggest that the author read up on the concept of "Christ the King."

                        I'd also suggest a reading of Revelations Chapter 5, in particular the
                        reference to the Lion of Judah in vs 5:

                        "Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the
                        tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open
                        the scroll and its seven seals."
                        Rev. 5:5 (NIV)
                        (to read the verse in context see
                        http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=73&chapter=5&version=31)

                        Thanks to all for posting re: the various articles that have been
                        turning up in the press. It's been enlightening. :)

                        Julia
                      • John D Rateliff
                        ... I d like to second that; it s been v. interesting seeing all these pieces, most of which I wouldn t have come across otherwise (e.g., the New Yorker
                        Message 11 of 11 , Nov 19, 2005
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                          On Nov 19, 2005, at 11:49 AM, Nessime wrote:
                          > Thanks to all for posting re: the various articles that have been
                          > turning up in the press. It's been enlightening. :)
                          >
                          > Julia


                          I'd like to second that; it's been v. interesting seeing all these
                          pieces, most of which I wouldn't have come across otherwise (e.g.,
                          the New Yorker piece).

                          --JDR



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