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Sayer and Sayers

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  • John D Rateliff
    Sorry; I should have been more explicit. The piece said that authors E. R. Eddison and Dorothy L. Sayers were occasional guests at the Inklings. While this is
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 18, 2005
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      Sorry; I should have been more explicit.
      The piece said that authors E. R. Eddison and Dorothy L. Sayers were occasional guests at the Inklings. While this is certainly true of Eddison, who attended at least twice, we know from explicit statements to the contrary that DLS never attended a single meeting and probably never even knew the group existed.
      Yes, George Sayer seems to have been an occasional attendee, like Roger Lancelyn Green, "Pig" Robinson, Fr. John Tolkien (on at least one occasion), and Joy Gresham (only once), and probably others.
      Good to know about THE NARNIAN.

      Current Reading: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft's thesis: "the philosophy of Tolkien is simply Christianity". One of his chief rhetorical devices is frequent quotation from C.S. Lewis on the assumption that if Lewis says it, Tolkien must have thought it too. In fact, he considers the two men so inseparable that he jokingly refers to them as "the Tolkie-lewis monster". --an idea I find, in the words of Rev. Dodgson, "a sentiment open to doubt".

      --JDR

      -----Original Message-----
      From: "Joe R. Christopher" <jchristopher@...>
      Sent: Nov 18, 2005 9:54 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: George Sayers

      At 08:29 AM 11/18/2005, John Rateliff wrote:
      >Sayers was an occasional visitor to the Inklings (wrong).

      Didn't he upon occasion attend the Tuesday pub meetings? If so, the
      problem is with the definition of "Inklings"--does one limit the term to
      the Thursday evening readings and discussion (as W. H. Lewis does) or does
      one expand it to include the Bird and Baby (as a number want to do, who
      attended those after the Thursday meetings had stopped)? I prefer W. H.
      Lewis's view (which Carpenter also supports), but I see lots of the looser
      usage.

      By the way, the small amount I've read of _The Narnian_ I've thought fairly
      good. I should have time to read the book through in a couple of weeks.

      --Joe
    • Mike Foster
      Rather like the Chesterbelloc but much less so, I should think. All four agree on bacon and beer. Cheers with a Steves Point Pale Ale, Mike ... [Non-text
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 18, 2005
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        Rather like the Chesterbelloc but much less so, I should think.

        All four agree on bacon and beer.

        Cheers with a Steves Point Pale Ale,
        Mike

        John D Rateliff wrote:

        >Sorry; I should have been more explicit.
        > The piece said that authors E. R. Eddison and Dorothy L. Sayers were occasional guests at the Inklings. While this is certainly true of Eddison, who attended at least twice, we know from explicit statements to the contrary that DLS never attended a single meeting and probably never even knew the group existed.
        > Yes, George Sayer seems to have been an occasional attendee, like Roger Lancelyn Green, "Pig" Robinson, Fr. John Tolkien (on at least one occasion), and Joy Gresham (only once), and probably others.
        > Good to know about THE NARNIAN.
        >
        >Current Reading: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft's thesis: "the philosophy of Tolkien is simply Christianity". One of his chief rhetorical devices is frequent quotation from C.S. Lewis on the assumption that if Lewis says it, Tolkien must have thought it too. In fact, he considers the two men so inseparable that he jokingly refers to them as "the Tolkie-lewis monster". --an idea I find, in the words of Rev. Dodgson, "a sentiment open to doubt".
        >
        >--JDR
        >
        >-----Original Message-----
        >From: "Joe R. Christopher" <jchristopher@...>
        >Sent: Nov 18, 2005 9:54 AM
        >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [mythsoc] Re: George Sayers
        >
        >At 08:29 AM 11/18/2005, John Rateliff wrote:
        >
        >
        >>Sayers was an occasional visitor to the Inklings (wrong).
        >>
        >>
        >
        >Didn't he upon occasion attend the Tuesday pub meetings? If so, the
        >problem is with the definition of "Inklings"--does one limit the term to
        >the Thursday evening readings and discussion (as W. H. Lewis does) or does
        >one expand it to include the Bird and Baby (as a number want to do, who
        >attended those after the Thursday meetings had stopped)? I prefer W. H.
        >Lewis's view (which Carpenter also supports), but I see lots of the looser
        >usage.
        >
        >By the way, the small amount I've read of _The Narnian_ I've thought fairly
        >good. I should have time to read the book through in a couple of weeks.
        >
        >--Joe
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • AMV Howard
        ... I m impressed by the manner in which he appears to misread every single subject he treats in his book--not only does he get Tolkien and Lewis dead wrong,
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 21, 2005
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          On 11/18/05, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > Current Reading: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft's
          > thesis: "the philosophy of Tolkien is simply Christianity". One of his chief
          > rhetorical devices is frequent quotation from C.S. Lewis on the assumption
          > that if Lewis says it, Tolkien must have thought it too. In fact, he
          > considers the two men so inseparable that he jokingly refers to them as "the
          > Tolkie-lewis monster". --an idea I find, in the words of Rev. Dodgson, "a
          > sentiment open to doubt".
          >

          I'm impressed by the manner in which he appears to misread every single
          subject he treats in his book--not only does he get Tolkien and Lewis dead
          wrong, but "simply Christianity"?!?!!?

          (I shall refrain from mentioning the problematic conflation of "philosophy"
          and "religion," as that is a hairy area, and missteps are at least
          reasonably understandable, which cannot be said for the rest of that
          muddle.)

          /A
          --
          Alana Vincent Howard
          Prescott College
          Master of Arts Program

          770.419.8727


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • lynnmaudlin
          ... Kreeft s ... of his chief ... assumption ... he ... them as the ... Dodgson, a ... single ... Lewis dead ... of philosophy ... I expect Peter Kreeft is
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 22, 2005
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            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, AMV Howard <amvhoward@g...> wrote:
            >
            > On 11/18/05, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > Current Reading: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN by Peter Kreeft.
            Kreeft's
            > > thesis: "the philosophy of Tolkien is simply Christianity". One
            of his chief
            > > rhetorical devices is frequent quotation from C.S. Lewis on the
            assumption
            > > that if Lewis says it, Tolkien must have thought it too. In fact,
            he
            > > considers the two men so inseparable that he jokingly refers to
            them as "the
            > > Tolkie-lewis monster". --an idea I find, in the words of Rev.
            Dodgson, "a
            > > sentiment open to doubt".
            > >
            >
            > I'm impressed by the manner in which he appears to misread every
            single
            > subject he treats in his book--not only does he get Tolkien and
            Lewis dead
            > wrong, but "simply Christianity"?!?!!?
            >
            > (I shall refrain from mentioning the problematic conflation
            of "philosophy"
            > and "religion," as that is a hairy area, and missteps are at least
            > reasonably understandable, which cannot be said for the rest of that
            > muddle.)
            >
            > /A
            > --
            > Alana Vincent Howard
            > Prescott College
            > Master of Arts Program
            >
            > 770.419.8727

            I expect Peter Kreeft is alluding to George Bernard Shaw's reference
            to G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc as the "twiformed monster
            Chesterbelloc." Not being a student of Belloc and having limited
            acquaintance with GKC, I can't speak to the accuracy of Shaw's
            nickname - but, unless they were quite different in thought and yet
            joined as friends, I don't see how the "Tolkielewis monster" is an
            apt comparison. Kreeft has written quite a few books on Lewis,
            including "Between Heaven and Hell" which is comprised of an imagined
            meeting between CSL, JFK, and Aldous Huxley - all of whom died 42
            years ago today (well, just barely "today" still, for me!). But it
            sounds like Kreeft is not much of a Tolkien scholar...
            blessings!
            -- Lynn --
          • David Bratman
            ... I ve read that one. It is hideously, embarrasingly, cringingly bad. It s an inept parody of a Platonic dialogue, with Lewis as Socrates, and Kennedy and
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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              At 07:52 AM 11/23/2005 +0000, Lynn wrote:

              >Kreeft has written quite a few books on Lewis,
              >including "Between Heaven and Hell" which is comprised of an imagined
              >meeting between CSL, JFK, and Aldous Huxley - all of whom died 42
              >years ago today (well, just barely "today" still, for me!).

              I've read that one. It is hideously, embarrasingly, cringingly bad. It's
              an inept parody of a Platonic dialogue, with Lewis as Socrates, and Kennedy
              and Huxley as his patsies. It's set in limbo, so the victims of Kreeft's
              pompous, know-it-all Lewis can't get up and leave. Fortunately the reader can.


              >But it sounds like Kreeft is not much of a Tolkien scholar...

              No, he isn't. Of a previous Kreeft essay, I wrote in the Years' Work in
              Tolkien Studies 2001-2,

              "Kreeft is primarily concerned with using Tolkien's descriptions of evil to
              buttress his own highly Manichean views on evil in the primary world. His
              claims that Theoden's virtue lies in avoiding Denethor's sin of acquiring
              too much knowledge and that Gollum speaks in the plural because the
              singular is associated with God do not convince as statements of Tolkien's
              intent."

              And that's how I put it when I'm trying to be detached and scholarly.

              DB
            • Carl F. Hostetter
              ... To my knowledge, Kreeft is most well-known as a Catholic apologist. As such, he is hardly Manichaean -- or ought not to be, though I haven t read his work
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                On Nov 23, 2005, at 12:29 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                > At 07:52 AM 11/23/2005 +0000, Lynn wrote:
                >
                >> But it sounds like Kreeft is not much of a Tolkien scholar...
                >
                > No, he isn't. Of a previous Kreeft essay, I wrote in the Years'
                > Work in
                > Tolkien Studies 2001-2,
                >
                > "Kreeft is primarily concerned with using Tolkien's descriptions of
                > evil to
                > buttress his own highly Manichean views on evil in the primary world.


                To my knowledge, Kreeft is most well-known as a Catholic apologist.
                As such, he is hardly Manichaean -- or ought not to be, though I
                haven't read his work on Tolkien yet to see what causes David to see
                Manichaeanism it.
              • Walter Padgett
                ... Viewing your discussion of Kreeft s book, I am reminded of another piece by this same author. It is titled, The Wonder of the Silmarillion, and it
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                  > > On 11/18/05, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > Current Reading: THE PHILOSOPHY OF TOLKIEN by Peter Kreeft.
                  > Kreeft's
                  > > > thesis: "the philosophy of Tolkien is simply Christianity". One
                  > of his chief
                  > > > rhetorical devices is frequent quotation from C.S. Lewis on the
                  > assumption
                  > > > that if Lewis says it, Tolkien must have thought it too. In fact,
                  > he
                  > > > considers the two men so inseparable that he jokingly refers to
                  > them as "the
                  > > > Tolkie-lewis monster". --an idea I find, in the words of Rev.
                  > Dodgson, "a
                  > > > sentiment open to doubt".
                  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  > > On 11/21/05, AMV Howard <amvhoward@g...> wrote:
                  > > I'm impressed by the manner in which he appears to misread every
                  > single
                  > > subject he treats in his book--not only does he get Tolkien and
                  > Lewis dead
                  > > wrong, but "simply Christianity"?!?!!?
                  > >
                  > > (I shall refrain from mentioning the problematic conflation
                  > of "philosophy"
                  > > and "religion," as that is a hairy area, and missteps are at least
                  > > reasonably understandable, which cannot be said for the rest of that
                  > > muddle.)
                  > >
                  > > /A
                  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  On 11/23/05, lynnmaudlin <lynnmaudlin@...> wrote:
                  > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, AMV Howard <amvhoward@g...> wrote:
                  > I expect Peter Kreeft is alluding to George Bernard Shaw's reference
                  > to G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc as the "twiformed monster
                  > Chesterbelloc." Not being a student of Belloc and having limited
                  > acquaintance with GKC, I can't speak to the accuracy of Shaw's
                  > nickname - but, unless they were quite different in thought and yet
                  > joined as friends, I don't see how the "Tolkielewis monster" is an
                  > apt comparison. Kreeft has written quite a few books on Lewis,
                  > including "Between Heaven and Hell" which is comprised of an imagined
                  > meeting between CSL, JFK, and Aldous Huxley - all of whom died 42
                  > years ago today (well, just barely "today" still, for me!). But it
                  > sounds like Kreeft is not much of a Tolkien scholar...
                  > blessings!
                  > -- Lynn --
                  -----------------------------------------------



                  Viewing your discussion of Kreeft's book, I am reminded of another
                  piece by this same author. It is titled, "The Wonder of the
                  Silmarillion," and it appears as an afterward to Mark Hillegas' edited
                  collection of articles on the inklings, =Shadows of imagination=, of
                  which I'm sure, of course, many of you are aware.

                  I thought it was really good. It was one of the first articles I
                  found that spoke with the same kind of enthusiasm that I had felt for
                  =The Silmarillion.= And reading it, I felt that I had finally found
                  someone who understood some of the most wonderful reasons for loving
                  such a wonderful book.

                  It is my opinion that Kreeft often gets carried away in his
                  discussions. And I picture him as being really excited and talking
                  real fast in his discussion of Tolkien, steam rolling over any
                  contradictions inherent in his analysis, approaching the bizarre, even
                  resting some of his most "wonderful" declarations on a rather sandy
                  foundation. And though the wonder of many of his points is easily
                  washed away by a close and critical reading, I think it is the
                  "wonder" that he goes for, that he tries to discover, explore and
                  create, at whatever cost.

                  It's like he is willing to seriously state and perhaps even believe
                  that Tolkien is actually an Elf purely for the wonder of it. He
                  doesn't want to recognize that Galadriel doesn't resemble Mary past a
                  first fleeting glance because that would diminish the wonder of his
                  flashing point; it would dampen the exciting pace of his exposition.

                  Wonder is, after all, one of the big three values that justify the
                  existence of evil in Tolkien's world. So what does it matter if you
                  have to do a little sloppy logic, or even to utter absurdities, in
                  order to achieve the desired state of mystification?
                • Croft, Janet B.
                  Walter Padgett wrote: Wonder is, after all, one of the big three values that justify the existence of evil in Tolkien s world. So what does it matter if you
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                    Walter Padgett wrote: Wonder is, after all, one of the big three values
                    that justify the existence of evil in Tolkien's world. So what does it
                    matter if you have to do a little sloppy logic, or even to utter
                    absurdities, in order to achieve the desired state of mystification?

                    Well, it's intellectually dishonest to pass it off as scholarship, and
                    not necessary for the "desired state of mystification." I don't think
                    Tolkien would have held with intellectual dishonesty -- there's wonder
                    enough to be found in the world as it really is -- wonder enough in
                    grass and stone and bread -- without having to turn your brain off and
                    ignore poorly-constructed arguments. And once you start allowing such
                    absurdities to pass, where do you stop?


                    Janet

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                  • David Bratman
                    ... The fact that a Christian writer ought not to be Manichean was very much on my mind when I wrote my comments on Kreeft. DB
                    Message 9 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                      At 01:51 PM 11/23/2005 -0500, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:

                      >To my knowledge, Kreeft is most well-known as a Catholic apologist.
                      >As such, he is hardly Manichaean -- or ought not to be, though I
                      >haven't read his work on Tolkien yet to see what causes David to see
                      >Manichaeanism it.

                      The fact that a Christian writer ought not to be Manichean was very much on
                      my mind when I wrote my comments on Kreeft.

                      DB
                    • Carl F. Hostetter
                      I guess I m curious to know what you think characterizes Manichaeanism. (I ve seen Tolkien charged with the same, without justice I think, Manichaeanism being
                      Message 10 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                        I guess I'm curious to know what you think characterizes
                        Manichaeanism. (I've seen Tolkien charged with the same, without
                        justice I think, Manichaeanism being more than just simply dualism,
                        at least as "dualism" is too often simplistically misunderstood.) But
                        I've got Kreeft's latest on my reading pile, and intend to get his
                        earlier works, so I can try to figure that out for myself down the road.

                        Carl


                        On Nov 23, 2005, at 5:03 PM, David Bratman wrote:

                        > At 01:51 PM 11/23/2005 -0500, Carl F. Hostetter wrote:
                        >
                        >> To my knowledge, Kreeft is most well-known as a Catholic apologist.
                        >> As such, he is hardly Manichaean -- or ought not to be, though I
                        >> haven't read his work on Tolkien yet to see what causes David to see
                        >> Manichaeanism it.
                        >
                        > The fact that a Christian writer ought not to be Manichean was very
                        > much on
                        > my mind when I wrote my comments on Kreeft.
                        >
                        > DB
                      • Stolzi
                        ... From: Walter Padgett ... I don t follow this at all. Can you explain? Diamond Proudbrook
                        Message 11 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Walter Padgett" <wpadgett@...>
                          > Wonder is, after all, one of the big three values that justify the
                          > existence of evil in Tolkien's world.

                          I don't follow this at all. Can you explain?

                          Diamond Proudbrook
                        • Walter Padgett
                          ... Hi, Well, Janet might think my scholarship is sloppy, but I wrote a paper about the Ainulindalë in which I identified three values which seemed to justify
                          Message 12 of 18 , Nov 23, 2005
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                            On 11/23/05, Stolzi <Stolzi@...> wrote:

                            > > Wonder is, after all, one of the big three values that justify the
                            > > existence of evil in Tolkien's world.
                            >
                            > I don't follow this at all. Can you explain?
                            >
                            > Diamond Proudbrook
                            >

                            Hi,

                            Well, Janet might think my scholarship is sloppy, but I wrote a paper
                            about the Ainulindalë in which I identified three values which seemed
                            to justify evil: wonder, beauty and glory. In the Ainulindalë,
                            Ilúvatar admonishes the discord of Melkor, saying, "he that attempteth
                            this shall prove but my instrument in the devising of things more
                            wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."

                            I could email the whole paper to you, if you want.

                            Interestingly, my English professor who evaluated this paper pointed
                            out that my arguments characterized Tolkien's theology as
                            Manichaeistic, though I didn't know what Manichaeistic meant, or how
                            to pronounce it.

                            Since then, I read a wikipedia article on Manichaeism, and I now
                            disagree with my English professor.

                            Manichaeism can be understood, basically, as a belief that reality is
                            a kind of a compromise between good and evil; that these two forces or
                            interests compete with each other for dominion, and we are left to
                            live with the consequences (somewhat innocently, some critics of this
                            view might add).

                            Yes, Tolkien's Valar battle "in despite" against Melkor, who undoes or
                            corrupts their every creative act. Consequently, the world is made
                            habitable for Elves and Men not according to the original creative
                            intentions of the Valar, but as a consequence of their conflict with
                            Melkor.

                            But because this dualistic theology places equal value on both sides
                            of the coin, Manichaeism denies the omnipotence and perfection of the
                            good power. In the Ainulindalë, a big part of what Ilúvatar does is
                            proclaim his supremacy. No real Christian would argue that evil is as
                            powerful as good, but a real Manichean would.

                            Because the early Manicheans "made every effort to include all known
                            religious traditions in their faith," what seems more Manichean than
                            anything about Tolkien's theology is its ability to reconcile Paganism
                            with Christianity.

                            What is Manichaeistic is the sub-creative effort of the Valar
                            competing equally with the destruction of Melkor. But the
                            super-creative act of Ilúvatar is not Manichaeistic.

                            Thanks, Walter.
                          • John D Rateliff
                            re. the forthcoming new Disney Narnia films, I was amused to come across the following two references recently. exhibit A: Peter Kreeft, HOW TO WIN THE CULTURE
                            Message 13 of 18 , Nov 24, 2005
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                              re. the forthcoming new Disney Narnia films, I was amused to come
                              across the following two references recently.


                              exhibit A: Peter Kreeft, HOW TO WIN THE CULTURE WAR, page 26:
                              "Disney . . . [makes] missionary movies for the Antichrist"


                              exhibit B: Warnie Lewis, BROTHERS & FRIENDS, entry for Sunday 9th
                              July 1967:

                              "On Television last night I saw the opening installment of J's Lion,
                              Witch and Wardrobe by which I was agreeably surprised. Lucy is good,
                              and looks the part, and Tumnus comes off. We got only so far as
                              Lucy's return from her first visit to Narnia so one cannot yet form
                              any opinion of the whole thing, but so far it's very promising and I
                              think J would have been pleased with it--no hint so far of what he
                              feared, a touch of Disneyland. Up to date the other three children
                              have had practically nothing to do, and have left no impression. The
                              scenery was first rate, and there really was something of magic about
                              the transition from the wardrobe to the dim lit snow covered Narnia.
                              How I wish J was here to talk it over with me!"

                              ibid, entry for Sunday 10th September:
                              "This evening we had the final Television instalment of The Lion, the
                              Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hope the listener response will be large
                              enough to encourage ATV to do some of the others, for this production
                              has been admirable both as regards acting and production, not a
                              jarring note in either from start to finish. How I wish J could have
                              seen it!"


                              --I'm curious; has anyone seen this original, live-action, black-and-
                              white version from 1967? I hadn't realized before checking Hooper's
                              COMPANION AND GUIDE that the Disney film is the fourth, not the
                              third, attempt to film the book. I haven't seen the 1976 cartoon,
                              only the 1988-1990 BBC series (where I thought the best thing about
                              them was Tom Baker).

                              --JDR

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Hugh Davis
                              I, too, would love to hear more about the 1967 production of LWW. I have been interested in it since I first found out about it, but information is scarce. I
                              Message 14 of 18 , Nov 24, 2005
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                                I, too, would love to hear more about the 1967 production of LWW. I have
                                been interested in it since I first found out about it, but information is
                                scarce.

                                I agree Tom Baker was good as Puddleglum, but I find many parts of the
                                1988-90 series to be worthwhile.

                                Hugh


                                >From: John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
                                >Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                >Subject: [mythsoc] Two views of Disney
                                >Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 14:49:48 -0800
                                >
                                >re. the forthcoming new Disney Narnia films, I was amused to come
                                >across the following two references recently.
                                >
                                >
                                >exhibit A: Peter Kreeft, HOW TO WIN THE CULTURE WAR, page 26:
                                >"Disney . . . [makes] missionary movies for the Antichrist"
                                >
                                >
                                >exhibit B: Warnie Lewis, BROTHERS & FRIENDS, entry for Sunday 9th
                                >July 1967:
                                >
                                >"On Television last night I saw the opening installment of J's Lion,
                                >Witch and Wardrobe by which I was agreeably surprised. Lucy is good,
                                >and looks the part, and Tumnus comes off. We got only so far as
                                >Lucy's return from her first visit to Narnia so one cannot yet form
                                >any opinion of the whole thing, but so far it's very promising and I
                                >think J would have been pleased with it--no hint so far of what he
                                >feared, a touch of Disneyland. Up to date the other three children
                                >have had practically nothing to do, and have left no impression. The
                                >scenery was first rate, and there really was something of magic about
                                >the transition from the wardrobe to the dim lit snow covered Narnia.
                                >How I wish J was here to talk it over with me!"
                                >
                                >ibid, entry for Sunday 10th September:
                                >"This evening we had the final Television instalment of The Lion, the
                                >Witch, and the Wardrobe. I hope the listener response will be large
                                >enough to encourage ATV to do some of the others, for this production
                                >has been admirable both as regards acting and production, not a
                                >jarring note in either from start to finish. How I wish J could have
                                >seen it!"
                                >
                                >
                                >--I'm curious; has anyone seen this original, live-action, black-and-
                                >white version from 1967? I hadn't realized before checking Hooper's
                                >COMPANION AND GUIDE that the Disney film is the fourth, not the
                                >third, attempt to film the book. I haven't seen the 1976 cartoon,
                                >only the 1988-1990 BBC series (where I thought the best thing about
                                >them was Tom Baker).
                                >
                                >--JDR
                                >
                                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • David Bratman
                                ... Best thing? Only good thing, in my recollection. Baker as Puddleglum stood out so strongly that I concluded that by the producers evident standards they
                                Message 15 of 18 , Nov 25, 2005
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                                  At 02:49 PM 11/24/2005 -0800, John D Rateliff wrote:
                                  >--I'm curious; has anyone seen this original, live-action, black-and-
                                  >white version from 1967? I hadn't realized before checking Hooper's
                                  >COMPANION AND GUIDE that the Disney film is the fourth, not the
                                  >third, attempt to film the book. I haven't seen the 1976 cartoon,
                                  >only the 1988-1990 BBC series (where I thought the best thing about
                                  >them was Tom Baker).

                                  Best thing? Only good thing, in my recollection. Baker as Puddleglum
                                  stood out so strongly that I concluded that by the producers' evident
                                  standards they had erred in hiring a good actor for the part.

                                  What I mostly remember from that one was the soothing quality of their
                                  Aslan. It's as if they missed the word "not" in the phrase "not a tame
                                  lion." He didn't even roar, he sort of burped.

                                  DB
                                • John D Rateliff
                                  ... I d forgotten that Kreeft wrote this piece. It s been a long time since I read it; I ll have to go back and see what he had to say. Thanks for the
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                                    On Nov 23, 2005, at 11:05 AM, Walter Padgett wrote:
                                    > -----------------------------------------------
                                    > Kreeft's . . . "The Wonder of the
                                    > Silmarillion" . . . was one of the first articles I
                                    > found that spoke with the same kind of enthusiasm that I had felt for
                                    > =The Silmarillion.= And reading it, I felt that I had finally found
                                    > someone who understood some of the most wonderful reasons for loving
                                    > such a wonderful book.

                                    I'd forgotten that Kreeft wrote this piece. It's been a long time
                                    since I read it; I'll have to go back and see what he had to say.
                                    Thanks for the reminder.

                                    > It is my opinion that Kreeft often gets carried away in his
                                    > discussions . . . steam rolling over any contradictions inherent in
                                    > his analysis, approaching the bizarre, even
                                    > resting some of his most "wonderful" declarations on a rather sandy
                                    > foundation . . . He doesn't want to recognize that Galadriel
                                    > doesn't resemble Mary past a
                                    > first fleeting glance because that would diminish the wonder of his
                                    > flashing point; it would dampen the exciting pace of his exposition.

                                    This comment actually helped me make sense of one of the book's odder
                                    features: from time to time, Kreeft goes off on a rhapsody where he
                                    completely abandons coherent argument and just spins fine words. It
                                    didn't work with me as a rhetorical device, but your comment makes me
                                    at least see what he might have been up to. Sometimes the effect is
                                    downright silly, as when he says (apropos of nothing) that "Sam is
                                    like your uncle", or of music that "nothing is more essential to
                                    human happiness", or when he asserts that Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragorn
                                    are the three Christ figures of LotR, representing priest, prophet,
                                    and king, the threefold hero of the book, going on to compare them to
                                    James, John, and Paul (huh?), the Brothers Karamazov, and McCoy,
                                    Spock, and Kirk (!). Never mind that a chapter earlier he said Sam
                                    was the hero; that doesn't fit into his current riff, so he ignores
                                    the fact he ever said it. Never mind that Tolkien explicitly denied
                                    that Frodo was a Christ figure. Never mind that twice before Kreeft
                                    has compared Frodo not to Christ but to Mary, calling his acceptance
                                    of the Ring at the Council of Elrond his "Marian moment". Kreeft has
                                    a tendency to lose himself in the moment, to the detriment of his
                                    argument.

                                    Now that I've finished his book (#2566 on my reading list), I
                                    definitely do not recommend it. For one thing, it's likely that
                                    anyone reading a book about Tolkien will have read Tolkien for
                                    himself or herself first, and anyone who's read LotR twice or more
                                    will probably know more about it than Kreeft does--for example, that
                                    it is Merry and not Pippin who helps Eowyn slay the Nazgul, or that
                                    Aragorn and Arwen's courtship did not last "centuries", or that
                                    Galadriel is an Elf not a Maia, or (if they've read The Hobbit at
                                    least once) that Bilbo did not slay the dragon Smaug, or (if they
                                    know much about Tolkien & Lewis's biography) that "a happy man" might
                                    not be the most apt description of JRRT's personality and that
                                    Tolkien did not learn to love topography "on his many walking tours
                                    with the Inklings", or (if they've read both The Silmarillion and The
                                    Magician's Nephew), that "God and his angels" don't sing the world
                                    into existence in both books (Illuvatar lets the Ainur subcreate
                                    Middle-earth but doesn't sing himself; Aslan creates Narnia solo).
                                    On the other hand, anyone who wants to see philosophy applied to
                                    LotR is in for a disappointment too, since Kreeft simply wants to
                                    demonstrate that the "Tolkie-lewis monster" wrote to embody orthodox
                                    Christianity: all he does is assert, seldom offering much in support
                                    of his assertion (and then it's usually either circular or not from
                                    Tolkien at all but CSL's apologetics). He does occasionally quote
                                    from Tolkien's letters, but I wish he did so much more than he does.
                                    He also sometimes doesn't seem to know what the words he uses mean,
                                    as when he describes Sam as "bourgeois" (instead of "proletariat" or,
                                    better still, "worker").

                                    This is not to say that there aren't some good things here--his
                                    phrase "commit the sin of allegory" is nice, and compared to Kreeft's
                                    vile little book HOW TO WIN THE CULTURE WAR, THE PHILOSOPHY OF
                                    TOLKIEN is Mostly Harmless. But as a serious examination of the
                                    important issue of how Tolkien Catholicism informed his work, it's a
                                    dud. It's an attempt to highjack Tolkien to advance an agenda, not a
                                    serious attempt to look at Tolkien's thought and beliefs.

                                    Which raises the question: of the many books that have come out in
                                    the last few years on Tolkien and religion, are there any that folks
                                    here would recommend? Dickerson and Rutledge sound like the cream of
                                    the crop from what I've heard so far, but I haven't read either yet.

                                    --JDR

                                    just finished: LEWIS CARROLL: PHOTOGRAPHER by Helmutt Gernsheim
                                    (good!), WALDERE, ed. Arne Zettersten (short!), and FROM THE WORLD'S
                                    END by Roger Lancelyn Green (rotten!)
                                    current audiobook: MIRACLES by CSL


                                    P.S.: By the way, I agree with David about the "Socratic dialogues".
                                    Kreeft is fond of the form, and has written several books using it,
                                    but unfortunately he employs it very badly from the examples I've
                                    seen. It's a difficult form to pull off; Barfield's WORLDS APART is
                                    the best example I know of where it's used well.








                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Croft, Janet B.
                                    I haven t seen any discussion of the Rutledge here yet, but I thought it was quite good -- though perhaps those with more knowledge about Christianity might
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                                      I haven't seen any discussion of the Rutledge here yet, but I thought it
                                      was quite good -- though perhaps those with more knowledge about
                                      Christianity might notice problems I didn't.


                                      Janet

                                      Which raises the question: of the many books that have come out in the
                                      last few years on Tolkien and religion, are there any that folks here
                                      would recommend? Dickerson and Rutledge sound like the cream of the crop
                                      from what I've heard so far, but I haven't read either yet.

                                      --JDR
                                    • Carl F. Hostetter
                                      ... But surely the fact that Frodo can be compared to Mary in some respects, doesn t preclude his being compared to Christ in other respects -- or vice versa?
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Nov 29, 2005
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                                        On Nov 29, 2005, at 4:22 PM, John D Rateliff wrote:

                                        > Never mind that twice before Kreeft has compared Frodo not to
                                        > Christ but to Mary, calling his acceptance of the Ring at the
                                        > Council of Elrond his "Marian moment".

                                        But surely the fact that Frodo can be compared to Mary in some
                                        respects, doesn't preclude his being compared to Christ in other
                                        respects -- or vice versa?

                                        > that "God and his angels" don't sing the world into existence in
                                        > both books (Illuvatar lets the Ainur subcreate Middle-earth but
                                        > doesn't sing himself;

                                        But he does: Ilúvatar "propound[s] to them themes of music" and
                                        "declare[s] to them a mighty theme", which they "show forth their
                                        powers in adorning" (S:15). The sub-creation of the Ainur was just
                                        that: _sub-_creation, all done under Eru, and by Eru _through_ them,
                                        all within the theme that _he_ devised: "each of you shall find
                                        contained herein, _amid the design that I set before you_, all those
                                        things which _it may seem_ that he himself devised or
                                        added" (emphasis added).
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