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Re: Re: [mythsoc] Pullman and the Anxiety of Influence, etc.

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    In a message dated 11/1/0 3:51:27 AM, Sophie wrote:
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 1, 2000
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      In a message dated 11/1/0 3:51:27 AM, Sophie wrote:

      <<I think Philip(whom I know, though by correspondence rather than in the
      flesh, yet)is very much against the portrayal of girls in the Narnia series,>>

      Pullman's objections to Lewis (as quoted so far) seem to centre on the Narnia
      books, whereas it is Lewis's *adult* fiction that his own work resembles most
      glaringly in style and imagery. Has he ever mentioned Lewis in relation to
      anything other than Narnia? As a number of people have pointed out, _His Dark
      Materials_ isn't really written in the manner of a children's book, and
      doesn't really strike one as an anti-Christian equivalent of Narnia, to be
      read on the same level.
      Alexei
    • ERATRIANO@aol.com
      In a message dated 10/31/2000 10:51:26 PM Eastern Standard Time, smasson@northnet.com.au writes:
      Message 2 of 11 , Nov 1, 2000
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        In a message dated 10/31/2000 10:51:26 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        smasson@... writes:

        << I disliked The Last Battle thoroughly--I
        couldn't have told you why as a child but now I think it was because it
        reminded me of hellfire preachers I had known. It seems to me the least
        childlike and mythical of the series, and I think Philip particularly hates
        that one too. >>

        It's been too long since I last reread the series, but I liked TLB. I took
        comfort from Aslan's claiming of one of the, what were they? the
        pseudo-Saracens... Not just the act itself, but its implications as well.

        Sounds like I should avoid Goldthwaite, and the jury is still out on Pullman.
        On the other hand, there are constantly more and more Redwall books, and I
        can't help but wonder if they are enjoyable.

        I am ploughing through Moon's Deed of Paksennarion (sp) and while it took
        some getting used to, and I personally miss a romantic element, it is
        definitely worth reading, at least so far. There is a wealth more of certain
        details than I can take in, but it still doesn't make it a bad book. Many
        supposedly mythic books leave a gooey taste in the mind, and Paks, while not
        as poetic as I might like, is leaving a clean taste... lol

        Lizzie
      • alexeik@aol.com
        In a message dated 11/1/0 5:23:38 PM, David Bratman wrote:
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 1, 2000
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          In a message dated 11/1/0 5:23:38 PM, David Bratman wrote:

          << However,
          the proof of that pudding has to be in the eating. If Pullman's books
          are successful as literature, it doesn't matter why he wrote them.>>

          I agree, and my objection to the trilogy is not a partisan ideological one,
          but is based on my dissatisfaction with its conclusion, which gave evidence
          of sloppy thinking and evasion of crucial implications of the plot. In an
          interview he gave to Amazon.com, he said that his world-view was basically a
          moral one, that kindness and self-sacrifice were good and cruelty and
          selfishness were evil, regardless of where they were manifested -- that if a
          self-proclaimed religious person is selfish and cruel, their religious
          allegiance doesn't excuse them. This is very easy to accept, and could be the
          basis of a successful fantasy plot (although having *everybody* in the Church
          be evil is stretching credibility a bit -- but that's another story), but
          Pullman then muddies his moral vision. At the beginning, Iorek Byrnison is a
          really powerful image of goodness, and Mrs.Coulter is as ghastly a figure of
          self-centered evil as one might wish for. The problem comes with Lord
          Asriel,whose own cruelty is amply demonstrated at the end of _The Golden
          Compass_, and whose revolt is motivated primarily by his unwillingness to
          recognise an authority higher than his own. However, all those who have had
          reason to resent the Authority flock to his banner and treat him as a heroic
          liberator, even though there is nothing of the "kindness" and altruism in him
          that would make him a "good" character according to Pullman's own terms. His
          "heroism" in his suicidal destruction of the Authority is motivated entirely
          by hate. The plot was leading me to expect Lyra (who has first-hand knowledge
          of his cruelty) to expose her father's true motivations and to establish
          "goodness" on a firmer foundation. But in the end she never even learns of
          her parents' fate (and her father's indifference to her even gets whitewashed
          by a pious lie). Mrs. Coulter is so manipulative in her selfishness that I
          found it impossible to believe in any of her turnarounds, including her
          crucial last one (and I have no idea whether Pullman expected us to). This in
          particular robbed the book of its full final impact.
          Alexei
        • Mary Kay Kare
          ... I have to say I thouroughly enjoyed the first half of DoP. But when things started getting religious and mystical it became less enjoyable for me. I
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 2, 2000
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            ERATRIANO@... wrote:
            >
            >
            > I am ploughing through Moon's Deed of Paksennarion (sp) and while it took
            > some getting used to, and I personally miss a romantic element, it is
            > definitely worth reading, at least so far. There is a wealth more of certain
            > details than I can take in, but it still doesn't make it a bad book. Many
            > supposedly mythic books leave a gooey taste in the mind, and Paks, while not
            > as poetic as I might like, is leaving a clean taste... lol
            >
            I have to say I thouroughly enjoyed the first half of DoP. But when
            things started getting religious and mystical it became less enjoyable
            for me. I think, however, this is my peculiarity rather than a flaw
            in the writing.

            MKK
          • ERATRIANO@aol.com
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 6, 2000
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              << Somewhere Gene Wolfe was quoted as saying that Tolkien is such a giant for
              subsequent fantasyists that they must either write in his shadow or in
              reaction to Tolkien. I'd really love to find the original Gene Wolfe
              quotation. It seems overstatement from a writer who is probably most
              influenced by another giant, J.L. Borges, and certainly shows more influence
              from Dickens and Kipling than Tolkien. So I'd like to see exactly what he
              said. (Or to know that he was misquoted). >>

              It's an understandable generalization. One can either write in the
              orcs-and-elves sort of tradition, or consciously choose not to use any of it.
              But I'm not sure how things like poetric prophecy, magic swords, and other
              things that existed before Tolkien, would be classified. Did the quote ever
              turn up.

              << By the way, I read Caroline Stevermer's new book, _When the King Comes
              Home_ and greatly enjoyed it. >>

              I've not heard of her. What does she write?

              Lizzie
            • Paul F. Labaki
              ... David Eddings is responsible for the above. It was during an interview that was contained in a Waldenbooks publication that was given to members of some
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 7, 2000
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                David Lenander <d-lena@...> wrote:
                >
                > Somewhere Gene Wolfe was quoted as saying that Tolkien
                > is such a giant for subsequent fantasyists that they must either write in his
                > shadow or in reaction to Tolkien. I'd really love to find the original Gene
                > Wolfe quotation.

                David Eddings is responsible for the above. It was during an interview that
                was contained in a Waldenbooks publication that was given to members of some
                sort of sf readers club, if memory serves.

                Peace,
                Paul
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