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news: Catholic Church contemplates fantasy

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  • David Bratman
    Focusing on Tolkien, Harry Potter and Others Council for Culture Joins in Event on English Literature VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Writers, literary
    Message 1 of 6 , May 10, 2006
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      Focusing on Tolkien, Harry Potter and Others
      Council for Culture Joins in Event on English Literature

      VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Writers, literary critics and
      Church figures are gathered in Rome to analyze 20th-century English
      literature and answer the question: "Is there an authentic distinction in
      literature between reality and fantasy?"

      These and other questions will be addressed during a study day on the theme
      "Catholicism and Literature in the 20th Century."

      This year the meeting, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, and
      organized with the Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia, is being held in
      the institute's Igea Room, in Rome. The two-day meeting, the seventh of its
      kind, ends Wednesday.

      "From the literary point of view, did the 1900s see the triumph of realism
      or the return to fantasy?" asks a press statement from the pontifical council.

      "The century of Proust, Svevo and Joyce was also marked by the popular
      success of the sagas of Tolkien and Lewis, to say nothing of the two major
      literary phenomena at the dawn of the new millennium: 'Harry Potter' and
      'The Da Vinci Code,'" it states.

      Two questions stand out among those that will be addressed at the meeting:
      "Is it possible to be discerning in the 'mare magnum' [vast sea] of fantasy
      writing? And how does this task connect to the spiritual and moral
      dimension of literature?"

      The meeting was presented today by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the
      Pontifical Council for Culture.

      Focus on Newman

      Among the speakers are Oxford professors and writers Leonie and Stratford
      Caldecott, as well as Italian literary critics Paolo Gulisano and Andrea
      Monda, and Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins, professor of theology at the
      Gregorian University.

      The meeting is highlighting in particular the writings of English Cardinal
      John Henry Newman (1801-1890), whose influence was decisive on 20th-century
      literature. Graham Greene called him the "patron of Catholic novelists."

      Newman's "'children' are those authors who have managed to combine a taste
      for fantasy with adherence to the Christian vision," said the pontifical
      council's communiqué. "Some are well known, such as Tolkien and Lewis, but
      others, such as Chesterton, who died 70 years ago, deserve more attention."

      It added that the meeting is reflecting "critically on these authors in
      order to shed light on the media phenomenon connected to their works."


      ===================================================
    • Bonnie Callahan
      Hi David; I hope they won t be obtuse on the issue, like some Fundamentalists have been. On a positive note, I m including a thread of E-mails from my other
      Message 2 of 6 , May 10, 2006
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        Hi David;

        I hope they won't be obtuse on the issue, like some
        Fundamentalists have been.

        On a positive note, I'm including a thread of E-mails
        from my other Tolkien gp. I find this
        info quite encouraging and thought the MythSoc
        should know about "Tolkien Reading Day", and
        encourage similar events.

        Bonnie
        ***************
        To: Tolkien_Forever@yahoogroups.com
        From:  "Debbie" <primmy_b@...
        Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 22:04:10 -0000
        Subject: [Tolkien_Forever] Re: "Reading Day"
        participants request: please read


        Wow, that is a great idea to promote Tolkien Reading
        Day
        like that (with ORC) and get the main Library
        involved early, etc.
        Very cool!
        I bet all that synergy and involvement ahead of time
        will get us
        a whopping reading day audience next year! I love all
        the
        cross-pollination:
        interest in the original books generated interest in
        the films, which
        have
        in turn created interest in the books again.
        -Debbie/primmy



        --- In Tolkien_Forever@yahoogroups.com, Garfeimao
        wrote:
        >
        > Jacki, I talked to a friend of mine who works at an
        LA
        > Library, and she gave me her card and said that any
        > kind of big event should probably go through the
        > Central Library in Downtown. Anyhow, if we go
        through
        > the Library and work this early, we may not have to
        > advertise it, they would probably do it for us. I'll
        > send you an email offlist and CC her into it so you
        > can get talking.
        >
        > OH, and ORC will be 2 weeks before Tolkien Reading
        day
        > next year, so we can do a version of it at the
        > convention and then promote it heavily at the con.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > From: "Jacki Stevens"
        > > Date: Tue May 9, 2006 2:19pm(PDT)
        > > Subject: Re: "Reading Day" participants request:
        > > please read
        > >
        > > Regarding Reading day (from the Grand Master of
        > > Ceremonies!)
        > > I have taken up the gauntlet to ensure that our
        > > next years Reading
        > > Day is going to come off without a hitch. (Is this
        > > ok with you,
        > > Kristi?) I am contacting several sponsors to try
        and
        > > raise the
        > > funding for advertising as this is our major
        expense
        > > to try and get
        > > the word out. We already know what day it will be,
        > > so I figure, why
        > > not?
        > > I contacted the Festival of Books organizers to
        > > try and get their
        > > secrets. It is simple networking, so it seems. I
        > > realize that our
        > > next reading day isn't until March of 2007, but I
        > > know a lot of you
        > > work in the industries where connections matter.
        If
        > > I can ask that
        > > for those who know of an organization who can
        > > support our next
        > > Reading Day, please feel free to forward me some
        > > contact information
        > > to my email at JackiStevens@...
        > > Thanks!
        > > Jacki :)



        --- David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:

        > Focusing on Tolkien, Harry Potter and Others
        > Council for Culture Joins in Event on English
        > Literature
        >
        > VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Writers,
        > literary critics and
        > Church figures are gathered in Rome to analyze
        > 20th-century English
        > literature and answer the question: "Is there an
        > authentic distinction in
        > literature between reality and fantasy?"
        >
        > These and other questions will be addressed during a
        > study day on the theme
        > "Catholicism and Literature in the 20th Century."
        >
        > This year the meeting, promoted by the Pontifical
        > Council for Culture, and
        > organized with the Institute of the Italian
        > Encyclopedia, is being held in
        > the institute's Igea Room, in Rome. The two-day
        > meeting, the seventh of its
        > kind, ends Wednesday.
        >
        > "From the literary point of view, did the 1900s see
        > the triumph of realism
        > or the return to fantasy?" asks a press statement
        > from the pontifical council.
        >
        > "The century of Proust, Svevo and Joyce was also
        > marked by the popular
        > success of the sagas of Tolkien and Lewis, to say
        > nothing of the two major
        > literary phenomena at the dawn of the new
        > millennium: 'Harry Potter' and
        > 'The Da Vinci Code,'" it states.
        >
        > Two questions stand out among those that will be
        > addressed at the meeting:
        > "Is it possible to be discerning in the 'mare
        > magnum' [vast sea] of fantasy
        > writing? And how does this task connect to the
        > spiritual and moral
        > dimension of literature?"
        >
        > The meeting was presented today by Cardinal Paul
        > Poupard, president of the
        > Pontifical Council for Culture.
        >
        > Focus on Newman
        >
        > Among the speakers are Oxford professors and writers
        > Leonie and Stratford
        > Caldecott, as well as Italian literary critics Paolo
        > Gulisano and Andrea
        > Monda, and Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins, professor
        > of theology at the
        > Gregorian University.
        >
        > The meeting is highlighting in particular the
        > writings of English Cardinal
        > John Henry Newman (1801-1890), whose influence was
        > decisive on 20th-century
        > literature. Graham Greene called him the "patron of
        > Catholic novelists."
        >
        > Newman's "'children' are those authors who have
        > managed to combine a taste
        > for fantasy with adherence to the Christian vision,"
        > said the pontifical
        > council's communiqué. "Some are well known, such as
        > Tolkien and Lewis, but
        > others, such as Chesterton, who died 70 years ago,
        > deserve more attention."
        >
        > It added that the meeting is reflecting "critically
        > on these authors in
        > order to shed light on the media phenomenon
        > connected to their works."
        >
        >
        > ===================================================
        >
        >
        >
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      • WendellWag@aol.com
        In a message dated 5/10/2006 12:27:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, dbratman@earthlink.net writes: The century of Proust, Svevo and Joyce was also marked by
        Message 3 of 6 , May 11, 2006
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          In a message dated 5/10/2006 12:27:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
          dbratman@... writes:

          "The century of Proust, Svevo and Joyce was also marked by the popular
          success of the sagas of Tolkien and Lewis, to say nothing of the two major
          literary phenomena at the dawn of the new millennium: 'Harry Potter' and
          'The Da Vinci Code,'" it states.



          Marcel Proust: 1871 - 1922
          Italo Svevo: 1861-1928
          James Joyce: 1882 -1941
          J. R. R. Tolkien: 1892 - 1973
          C. S. Lewis: 1898 - 1963
          J. K. Rowling: 1965 - Present
          Dan Brown: 1964 - Present

          Sounds more like the half-century of realism followed by the half-century of
          fantasy.

          Wendell Wagner


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Vincent Ferré
          Are you sure you can call Proust a realist ? and Joyce ? And Svevo (his major novel, zeno, being related to psychoanalysis ?) best wishes Vincent (lecturing
          Message 4 of 6 , May 11, 2006
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            Are you sure you can call Proust a "realist" ? and Joyce ? And Svevo (his major novel, zeno, being related to psychoanalysis ?)

            best wishes
            Vincent (lecturing on ... Proust & Svevo :-)
            Marcel Proust: 1871 - 1922
            Italo Svevo: 1861-1928
            James Joyce: 1882 -1941
            J. R. R. Tolkien: 1892 - 1973
            C. S. Lewis: 1898 - 1963
            J. K. Rowling: 1965 - Present
            Dan Brown: 1964 - Present

            Sounds more like the half-century of realism followed by the half-century of
            fantasy.

            Wendell Wagner


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • John D Rateliff
            Very interesting; thanks for posting, David. Interesting that they re not restricting their focus on Catholic authors but including ex- Catholics like Joyce
            Message 5 of 6 , May 11, 2006
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              Very interesting; thanks for posting, David. Interesting that they're
              not restricting their focus on Catholic authors but including ex-
              Catholics like Joyce and non-Catholics like Lewis and Rowlings.


              > "From the literary point of view, did the 1900s see the triumph of
              > realism
              > or the return to fantasy?" asks a press statement from the
              > pontifical council.

              Interesting that they see this as an either/or, rather than a both/
              and. After all, a century's a long time.

              > Two questions stand out among those that will be addressed at the
              > meeting:
              > "Is it possible to be discerning in the 'mare magnum' [vast sea] of
              > fantasy
              > writing? And how does this task connect to the spiritual and moral
              > dimension of literature?"

              I'd be interested in hearing what, if anything, they determine. I
              assume that this is a simple inquiry and that their findings will be
              preliminary and unofficial.


              On May 11, 2006, at 5:53 AM, Vincent Ferré wrote:
              >> Sounds more like the half-century of realism followed by the
              >> half-century of
              >> fantasy.
              >>
              >> Wendell Wagner
              > Are you sure you can call Proust a "realist" ? and Joyce ? And
              > Svevo (his major novel, zeno, being related to psychoanalysis ?)

              It's possible to argue that Modernism carried realism another step
              forward into accurate depictions of psychological and emotional
              states, but of course the Modernists did not describe themselves as
              realist and in fact were in active revolt against the realism of the
              preceding generation.
              In fact, realism and fantasy were both present throughout the
              century, with a segue in dominance between them.

              --JDR
            • Stolzi
              That the greatest books of the century just past were fantastic rather than realistic, is also a thesis of Tom Shippey s in TOLKIEN: AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY. I
              Message 6 of 6 , May 11, 2006
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                That the greatest books of the century just past were fantastic rather than
                realistic, is also a thesis of Tom Shippey's in TOLKIEN: AUTHOR OF THE
                CENTURY.

                I also heard a very interesting talk at the PAST WATCHFUL DRAGONS conference
                last year which considered the Inklings as Modernists for a change.

                Site's still up:

                PAPER 3: Mythic Movements: Inklings, Modernists, and the Problem of
                Placement
                Andrew Lazo - Rice University

                http://campus.belmont.edu/cslewis/schedule.html

                Diamond Proudbrook
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