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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Lucy, Galadriel, and Temptation

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    ... From: John D Rateliff To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 1:29 am Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Lucy, Galadriel, and
    Message 1 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 1:29 am
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Lucy, Galadriel, and Temptation







      On Dec 10, 2007, at 2:58 PM, Lynn Maudlin wrote:
      > Lewis was trying to make Aslan as much like Jesus as he could imagine

      Well, all I can say is that for me he failed utterly. I can only
      read the books if I 'suspend disbelief' and treat Aslan as a purely
      fictional character, like Manwe or Mana-Yood-Sushai or Koshchei the
      Deathless (i.e., as god, not God).
      I suspect others have the reverse problem with Pullman; they read
      his fantasy as if he were writing a realistic novel about our world,
      and react accordingly.
      <<

      Are they entirely unjustified in this, though? Not all of Pullman's story takes place in a fantasy world: parts of it are anchored in the primary world as well (or a world so similar to ours that its precise identity?makes no difference), and in those parts it does try to convince the reader directly about issues in the primary world. My impression has been that the aspect of the story that offends Christian readers most?is not so much the "death of God" theme as the subplot involving Dr. Mary Malone, the ex-nun-turned-scientist who jettisons both her religious vocation and her faith in general as a result of tasting marzipan. If this took place entirely in a fantasy setting, it could be taken as a clever reversal of the "Turkish delight" theme in _LWW_, and appreciated on the same?level, mythopoeically. But Pullman clearly presents it as his own judgment on Christianity in our world -- a judgment he wants his readers to share. In the process he shows himself incapable of imagining what a religious vocation would feel like (a serious lack in an imaginative writer), and also suggests that he has an extraordinarily shallow?understanding of this-worldly Christianity, seeing it as having no spiritual dimension beyond a simple denial of the body and its pleasures. Whether one agrees with him or not, it turns his story into a primary-world polemic rather than a mythopoeic statement. This is what terminally ruined _The Amber Spyglass_ for me, although I really enjoyed?most of the two previous books.
      Alexei
      ??





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    • Lynn Maudlin
      Interesting. I have no problem reading Aslan as CSL s concept of Jesus interacting in a world of talking animals. I don t expect it to be *my* concept of Jesus
      Message 2 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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        Interesting. I have no problem reading Aslan as CSL's concept of Jesus
        interacting in a world of talking animals. I don't expect it to be
        *my* concept of Jesus interacting in a world of talking animals (!!)
        but it's close enough to be recognizable.

        I've not read Pullman; I guess anybody who proudly trumpets himself as
        the anti-CSL is just not very appealing to me. Don't know if I'll see
        the film or not.

        -- Lynn --

        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > On Dec 10, 2007, at 2:58 PM, Lynn Maudlin wrote:
        > > Lewis was trying to make Aslan as much like Jesus as he could imagine
        >
        > Well, all I can say is that for me he failed utterly. I can only
        > read the books if I 'suspend disbelief' and treat Aslan as a purely
        > fictional character, like Manwe or Mana-Yood-Sushai or Koshchei the
        > Deathless (i.e., as god, not God).
        > I suspect others have the reverse problem with Pullman; they read
        > his fantasy as if he were writing a realistic novel about our world,
        > and react accordingly.
        > --JDR
        >
      • John D Rateliff
        Two interesting pieces of news out of the U.K. today, one happy news, the other sad. First, a J. K. Rowling manuscript just sold at auction for a children s
        Message 3 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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          Two interesting pieces of news out of the U.K. today, one happy news,
          the other sad.

          First, a J. K. Rowling manuscript just sold at auction for a
          children's charity. They were hoping it'd go for about fifty thousand
          pounds; instead it went for two million (over four million dollars).
          Wow.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7142656.stm

          Second, Terry Pratchett, author of the DIscworld series (among
          others), has just revealed that he has early onset Alzheimer's. He's
          planning to keep writing while he can.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7141458.stm

          --JDR
        • John D Rateliff
          ... It starts out presenting it as if it s the real world, but since fantasy events begin to happen in it it s revealed as just another fantasy world by that
          Message 4 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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            On Dec 13, 2007, at 12:25 PM, alexeik@... wrote:
            > Are they entirely unjustified in this, though? Not all of Pullman's
            > story takes place in a fantasy world: parts of it are anchored in
            > the primary world as well (or a world so similar to ours that its
            > precise identity makes no difference)

            It starts out presenting it as if it's the real world, but since
            fantasy events begin to happen in it it's revealed as just another
            fantasy world by that very fact. And it's not the portrayal of
            religious figures in Will's world that upsets the people calling for
            boycotts of the film or removal of the books from libraries but how
            they appear in Lyra's world and the fantasy worlds of the third book.

            > . . . the subplot involving Dr. Mary Malone, the ex-nun-turned-
            > scientist who jettisons both her religious vocation and her faith
            > in general as a result of tasting marzipan. If this took place
            > entirely in a fantasy setting, it could be taken as a clever
            > reversal of the "Turkish delight" theme in _LWW_, and appreciated
            > on the same level, mythopoeically.

            I like the idea of the two scenes being inverse of each other; I'd
            not thought of that before. It struck me as the most trivial possible
            reason to lose yr faith; I hope for her sake it was at least good
            marzipan, just as I've always hoped it was a pretty good apple.

            > Whether one agrees with him or not, it turns his story into a
            > primary-world polemic rather than a mythopoeic statement. This is
            > what terminally ruined _The Amber Spyglass_ for me, although I
            > really enjoyed most of the two previous books.

            I thought the first book was brilliant. The second was an interesting
            attempt to start from a different point and work to the same place;
            didn't quite come off, but worth reading. The third was a terrible
            hash, both polemic (which was annoying) and mythopoeic (mainly I
            think derived from Blake's prophetic books). I've always wondered
            what the original version of the third book, which he took back from
            the publisher and extensively rewrote, was like.

            --JDR
          • John D Rateliff
            ... In that case, I wouldn t recommend your reading the books. You might still enjoy the movie, which strips out all the parts of the story I think you d find
            Message 5 of 15 , Dec 13, 2007
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              On Dec 13, 2007, at 1:15 PM, Lynn Maudlin wrote:
              > I've not read Pullman; I guess anybody who proudly trumpets himself
              > as the anti-CSL is just not very appealing to me. Don't know if
              > I'll see the film or not.

              In that case, I wouldn't recommend your reading the books. You might
              still enjoy the movie, which strips out all the parts of the story I
              think you'd find objectionable, but it's pretty lightweight as a
              result and shd be enjoyed (or not) pretty much just as entertainment.

              --JDR
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