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John J. Miller on Christmas & Chronicles of Narnia on National Review Online

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  • Stolzi
    Good piece, I thought. http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200512220847.asp Diamond Proudbrook [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 22, 2005
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      Good piece, I thought.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200512220847.asp


      Diamond Proudbrook

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Bratman
      Indeed, a good piece. ... That s fair enough. Rather than postulating seething jealousies, as most writers do (Miller later guesses that Tolkien might have
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 22, 2005
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        Indeed, a good piece.

        >The author of The Lord of the Rings might not have finished his own
        >masterpiece but for Lewis's unflagging enthusiasm and encouragement. So he
        >probably would have liked to return the favor and cheer on Lewis in the
        >writing of Narnia. Yet Tolkien was a relentlessly honest man and he could
        >not hide his antipathy for the Narnian project.

        That's fair enough. Rather than postulating seething jealousies, as most
        writers do (Miller later guesses that Tolkien might have been jealous at
        Lewis's fluency, which is much more likely), Miller assumes that friends
        wish each other well and are sorry when they cannot praise each other's work.

        >Maybe you have to be an English major to care about the difference between
        >an allegory and a supposition.

        Yes, maybe you do. Miller is right to suppose the difference isn't
        significant; the greatest significance is that in an allegory, all the
        characters would be symbolic and the symbolism would be consistently
        carried through.

        >In Perelandra, a science-fiction book published in 1943, Lewis makes a
        >reference to "Numinor."

        Actually it was That Hideous Strength.

        >Lewis has a wonderful line early in the book about how the White Witch has
        >made it "always winter but never Christmas." If we cross out the Christmas
        >half of it, the line doesn't carry nearly half the punch: the witch doesn't
        >seem nearly so terrible, nor does the plight of the Narnians seem quite so
        >grave.

        I like that line too. Christmas is the "silver lining" to winter, and the
        witch's ability to banish something that's identified by a day on the
        calendar makes her dictatorship all the eerier. It's what Dr. Seuss'
        Grinch would like to do, but he doesn't have the power.

        This is the same writer who argued forcefully that LWW comes first
        (<http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200510280725.asp>). He took
        his children to see the movie
        (<http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200512090900.asp>) and reports
        that they liked it, though the four-year-old was a bit too young and
        squirmed a bit. The kid also squirmed through "March of the Penguins",
        which is far too long and slow-moving a film than I'd take a four-year-old
        to see.

        David Bratman
      • Lezlie
        ... Regardless of the words of a certain Governor bush, almost every child and quite a few adults who have read the Narnia books loved them. Narnia and it s
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 23, 2005
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          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Stolzi" <Stolzi@c...> wrote:
          >
          > Good piece, I thought.
          >
          > http://www.nationalreview.com/miller/miller200512220847.asp
          >
          >
          > Diamond Proudbrook
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          Regardless of the words of a certain Governor bush, almost every child
          and quite a few adults who have read the Narnia books loved them.
          "Narnia" and it's messages of hope transcends notions like "liberal",
          "conservative" in religious and certainly political bias. Gov. Bush
          simply sounds ridiculous and why anyone would bother to quote such a
          silly statement is beyond comprehension. I am certain that CS Lewis
          himself would agree. No one is going to take these books off school
          library shelves unless the Right makes a stink about their "religious
          values." Lezlie
        • Lezlie
          ... ew.com/miller/miller200512090900.asp ) and reports ... four-year-old ... Why on earth do otherwise responsible people insist upon taking their 4 year olds
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 23, 2005
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            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...> wrote:
            >
            > Indeed, a good piece.
            >
            > >The author of The Lord of the Rings might not have finished his own
            ew.com/miller/miller200512090900.asp>) and reports
            > that they liked it, though the four-year-old was a bit too young and
            > squirmed a bit. The kid also squirmed through "March of the Penguins",
            > which is far too long and slow-moving a film than I'd take a
            four-year-old
            > to see.
            >
            > David Bratman
            >

            Why on earth do otherwise responsible people insist upon taking their
            4 year olds to long movies that they are too young to enjoy?? I am so
            tired of being subjected to parents without brains in public theaters,
            musical events & (really, the worst) sporting events. Lezlie
          • John D Rateliff
            ... It was interesting, in our latest Mythlond meeting, to find out folk s reaction to Narnia. I think without exception it turned out that those who had first
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 23, 2005
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              On Dec 23, 2005, at 8:13 AM, Lezlie wrote:
              > almost every child
              > and quite a few adults who have read the Narnia books loved them.
              > "Narnia" and it's messages of hope transcends notions like "liberal",
              > "conservative" in religious and certainly political bias.

              It was interesting, in our latest Mythlond meeting, to find out
              folk's reaction to Narnia. I think without exception it turned out
              that those who had first read it as children still loved it after
              many re-readings and found it retained its charm now that they were
              adults. Those who read it for the first time as adults found it dull,
              bland, or offensive. Personally, re-reading the series for the first
              time in twenty-four years, I'm finding them better than I remembered
              them, though still not good. So think it's like MacDonald, something
              you have to grow up with to see the appeal of. Which makes Tolkien's
              ability to draw in both young and adult readers all the more
              interesting.
              The movie, which we finally saw last night, was interesting: its
              fidelity in the whole made the departures in specifics stand out. I
              think the Christian element is far more submerged in the film than in
              the book: it's much easier to enjoy simply as a story without judging
              it as a theological work, which I think was exactly the right choice
              to make for a film.


              > Gov. Bush
              > simply sounds ridiculous and why anyone would bother to quote such a
              > silly statement is beyond comprehension. I am certain that CS Lewis
              > himself would agree. No one is going to take these books off school
              > library shelves unless the Right makes a stink about their "religious
              > values." Lezlie
              >

              Afraid you've lost me here. I didn't see any quote from J.Bush in the
              article. Am I missing something?

              --JDR

              current reading: JOSEPH AND ASENETH
            • Stolzi
              ... From: John D Rateliff ... Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even later, and loved them. I m
              Message 6 of 15 , Dec 24, 2005
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "John D Rateliff" <sacnoth@...>

                > It was interesting, in our latest Mythlond meeting, to find out
                > folk's reaction to Narnia. I think without exception it turned out
                > that those who had first read it as children still loved it after
                > many re-readings and found it retained its charm now that they were
                > adults. Those who read it for the first time as adults found it dull,
                > bland, or offensive

                Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even
                later, and loved
                them. I'm trying to remember if I read them all before purchasing the boxed
                set in the bookshop of Westminster Abbey during a Dec. 1967 stay in
                London...

                Diamond Proudbrook
              • Ginger McElwee
                I also read all seven Narnia books (and the Charles Williams novels) when I converted to Christianity while I was in college. I loved the Narnia books and
                Message 7 of 15 , Dec 24, 2005
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                  I also read all seven Narnia books (and the Charles Williams novels) when I
                  converted to Christianity while I was in college. I loved the Narnia books
                  and Williams, but I never cared for Lewis' adult trilogy. Of course, I
                  still enjoy children's literature, so maybe I am not a typical adult reader.

                  Ginger McElwee



                  _____

                  *

                  >Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even
                  >later, and loved
                  >them. I'm trying to remember if I read them all before purchasing the
                  boxed
                  >set in the bookshop of Westminster Abbey during a Dec. 1967 stay in
                  >London...

                  >Diamond Proudbrook








                  _____



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Joan.Marie.Verba@sff.net
                  ... From: Stolzi ... I first read it in high school and loved it. It was as popular in my high school as Harry Potter is now. Joan
                  Message 8 of 15 , Dec 24, 2005
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                    --- Original Message ---
                    From: "Stolzi" <Stolzi@...>

                    > Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even
                    > later, and loved
                    > them. I'm trying to remember if I read them all before purchasing the boxed
                    > set in the bookshop of Westminster Abbey during a Dec. 1967 stay in
                    > London...

                    I first read it in high school and loved it. It was as popular in my high
                    school as Harry Potter is now.

                    Joan
                  • Walter Padgett
                    ... I was born in 1967. I ve never read them. Should I? Why? I mean, do you think I would like them? Walter. [Non-text portions of this message have been
                    Message 9 of 15 , Dec 24, 2005
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                      On 12/24/05, Joan.Marie.Verba@... <Joan.Marie.Verba@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- Original Message ---
                      > From: "Stolzi" <Stolzi@...>
                      >
                      > > Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even
                      > > later, and loved
                      > > them. I'm trying to remember if I read them all before purchasing the
                      > boxed
                      > > set in the bookshop of Westminster Abbey during a Dec. 1967 stay in
                      > > London...
                      >
                      > I first read it in high school and loved it. It was as popular in my high
                      > school as Harry Potter is now.
                      >
                      > Joan




                      I was born in 1967. I've never read them. Should I? Why? I mean, do you
                      think I would like them?

                      Walter.


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Christine Howlett
                      Well, I was about 30 when I first read and loved them - another life-long kid-lit fan. I liked CSL s trilogy, especially Perelandra, but parts of That Hideous
                      Message 10 of 15 , Dec 25, 2005
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                        Well, I was about 30 when I first read and loved them - another life-long
                        kid-lit fan. I liked CSL's trilogy, especially Perelandra, but parts of
                        That Hideous Strength put a bad taste in my mouth. But CSL's imagery is
                        compelling in spite of his peculiar ideas of women.
                        Christine


                        > From: "Stolzi" <Stolzi@...>
                        >
                        >> Well, in a counter-data-point, I first read them at college-age or even
                        >> later, and loved
                        >> them. I'm trying to remember if I read them all before purchasing the
                        >> boxed
                        >> set in the bookshop of Westminster Abbey during a Dec. 1967 stay in
                        >> London...
                        >
                        > I first read it in high school and loved it. It was as popular in my high
                        > school as Harry Potter is now.
                        >
                        > Joan
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Christine Howlett
                        Certainly it depends on your tastes. If you still enjoy fiction written for children, then I think this would please you. I think CSL does a better job with
                        Message 11 of 15 , Dec 25, 2005
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                          Certainly it depends on your tastes. If you still enjoy fiction written for
                          children, then I think this would please you. I think CSL does a better job
                          with the child characters and the animal characters than he does with his
                          adult characters. The children seem more real and rounded, a realistic
                          compound of good and bad, yet still rather fetching. The space trilogy
                          seemed almost a bad morality play with characters that got to be more and
                          more cardboard. I liked the fantasy and I loved the animal characters. But
                          if you find talking animals too cutesy, then by all means avoid it.
                          Christine
                          I was born in 1967. I've never read them. Should I? Why? I mean, do you
                          think I would like them?

                          Walter.
                        • Lezlie
                          ... school ... Yup -- you did. First sentance of one of the two articles linked to -- Narnian Order: Which C. S. Lewis book comes first? wherein the author
                          Message 12 of 15 , Dec 26, 2005
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                            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@e...> wrote:
                            >
                            school
                            > > library shelves unless the Right makes a stink about their "religious
                            > > values." Lezlie
                            > >
                            >
                            > Afraid you've lost me here. I didn't see any quote from J.Bush in the
                            > article. Am I missing something?
                            >
                            > --JDR

                            Yup -- you did. First sentance of one of the two articles linked to --
                            "Narnian Order: Which C. S. Lewis book comes first?"
                            wherein the author quotes Gov. Bush (paraphrased) that the "liberals"
                            are "already" objecting to Narnia (the film). I've heard similar
                            silly statements from the "religious" press here and there as well.
                            Nonsense. Lezlie
                          • Lezlie
                            ... mean, do you ... You might consider it-- if only to keep up with the conversation herein . I actually *didn t* like LWWW in grade school when we
                            Message 13 of 15 , Dec 26, 2005
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                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Christine Howlett" <chowlett@e...> wrote:

                              > I was born in 1967. I've never read them. Should I? Why? I
                              mean, do you
                              > think I would like them?
                              >
                              > Walter.
                              >

                              You might consider it-- if only to keep up with the conversation
                              herein <grin>. I actually *didn't* like LWWW in grade school when we
                              read it as a class -- but, I enjoyed all seven books as a teen when I
                              read them to my little brother (who was born in 1965) and as an adult
                              when my daughter and I read three of the seven together (she was born
                              in 1984). She enjoyed them, too. I enjoy the hopeful message, the
                              fanciful characters, and the touches of humor. I didn't think CSL was
                              at all overbearing in his Christianity. I think my enjoyment of the
                              books stemmed from my love of fairy tales rather than any theological
                              consideration. Lewis led me back to Grimm & Perault and from there to
                              all sorts of places since.

                              Nowadays, my tastes in fantasy do run toward a more balanced views of
                              adults -- men, especially, women, and even *children* -- than CSL (or,
                              just about any writer in any genre of his generation) were able to
                              imagine. It won't stop me from seeing the film.

                              I, personally, find more interest and depth in Tolkien these days than
                              in Lewis -- either in Narnia or his SF trilogy. Lezlie
                            • Matthew Winslow
                              ... I missed the latest Mithlond due to illness, but I would ve ruined the trends, John. I first read Narnia in 3rd grade (right after the cartoon came
                              Message 14 of 15 , Dec 27, 2005
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                                On 12/23/05, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                                > It was interesting, in our latest Mythlond meeting, to find out
                                > folk's reaction to Narnia. I think without exception it turned out
                                > that those who had first read it as children still loved it after
                                > many re-readings and found it retained its charm now that they were
                                > adults. Those who read it for the first time as adults found it dull,
                                > bland, or offensive.

                                I missed the latest Mithlond due to illness, but I would've ruined the
                                trends, John. <g> I first read Narnia in 3rd grade (right after the
                                cartoon came out) and found them about as boring as you could get. I
                                then re-read them in my late teens, and found them much better.

                                --
                                Matthew Winslow
                                mwinslow@...
                                www.xreal.org

                                Currently Reading: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
                              • Jonathan Michael Reiter
                                Atomtetsuwan2002 here. I am reading the Narnia Chronicles for the first time in the many years since I read them in school. That was lo, these many years
                                Message 15 of 15 , Dec 27, 2005
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                                  Atomtetsuwan2002 here. I am reading the Narnia Chronicles for the first time in the many years since I read them in school.
                                  That was lo, these many years past, to give you all an idea when that was...(I'm 42, now.) I am getting an entirely different grasp on the books(I'm breaking the tradition, now as I did then to my aunt's dismay... I'm reading The Magician's Nephew, first!). I think waiting all these years was a good idea.

                                  Glad I didn't get to see the atrocious BBC made Cartoons and Live Action features that were made from the sound of them on this group...

                                  Atomtetsuwan2002
                                  at2k2
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Matthew Winslow
                                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 9:43 AM
                                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Miller ... Chronicles of Narnia ... NR Online


                                  On 12/23/05, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
                                  > It was interesting, in our latest Mythlond meeting, to find out
                                  > folk's reaction to Narnia. I think without exception it turned out
                                  > that those who had first read it as children still loved it after
                                  > many re-readings and found it retained its charm now that they were
                                  > adults. Those who read it for the first time as adults found it dull,
                                  > bland, or offensive.

                                  I missed the latest Mithlond due to illness, but I would've ruined the
                                  trends, John. <g> I first read Narnia in 3rd grade (right after the
                                  cartoon came out) and found them about as boring as you could get. I
                                  then re-read them in my late teens, and found them much better.

                                  --
                                  Matthew Winslow
                                  mwinslow@...
                                  www.xreal.org

                                  Currently Reading: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson


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