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Re: [mythsoc] CS Lewis vs. LF Baum

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  • David S. Bratman
    ... This is the line that most irritated me. There is nothing wrong with having some books that dispense with disagreeable incident, as long as they re not
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 28, 2000
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      > "This is British children's fantasy -- a far cry from the modest American
      > talent who leads with a promise to dispense with all "disagreeable incident."

      This is the line that most irritated me. There is nothing wrong with
      having some books that dispense with disagreeable incident, as long as
      they're not all like that. Life can be fun and agreeable at times, and
      even when it's not, why not read some occasionally? To criticize Baum
      for this statement is awfully reminiscent of those who criticize all
      fantasy for being escapist.

      Besides, he didn't mean it quite that way - for all of the reviewer's
      protests, there are moments of danger and doubt in Baum. He just wanted
      to ensure he didn't scare his child-readers' wigs off. As a former child
      who found the supposedly cutesy early Disney films terrifying (watch them
      again sometime if you don't believe me), I think Baum had a worthy point
      here.

      There is also, as DL noted, an implicit condemnation of all American
      fantasy. I think the reviewer has been seduced by the British side of
      the Force to the extent that she can not entirely appreciate the
      distinctive qualities of characteristically American fantasy writing,
      something which Baum (following hints from Hawthorne and Irving, in
      particular) essentially invented, and which you can see such a different
      writer as Tim Powers practicing today. A quick hit of Brian Attebery's
      "The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature," particularly the chapter
      on Baum, which fairly analyzes both his strengths and weaknesses, will
      explain this.

      The reviewer praises Lewis's prose, which in Narnia I find variable, and
      dismisses Baum's. It's hard not to suspect that she's looking down at
      his fondness for puns.

      David Bratman
    • Stolzi@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/28/2000 11:21:21 PM Central Standard Time, ... Shouldn t that be looking down =on=, David? (speaking of prose) As for the prose of
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 29, 2000
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        In a message dated 12/28/2000 11:21:21 PM Central Standard Time,
        dbratman@... writes:

        > It's hard not to suspect that she's looking down at
        > his fondness for puns.

        Shouldn't that be "looking down =on=," David? (speaking of prose)

        As for the prose of Narnia, I think you have a point. Lewis =said= that
        children's stories should be adapted for reading aloud, but there are long
        double-jointed clauses and parentheses in many sentences in the CHRONICLES
        which would, I think, be difficult to put across.

        Last night was thinking about this article and felt that the impeachment of
        American fantasy as more light-minded than British was unfair - does this
        woman think that HARRY POTTER, or WILLY WONKA, have profound moral and
        stylistic depths? Yah, right.

        Mary S
      • Stolzi@aol.com
        This Salon article is featured on one of AOL s subscriber pages - a miscellany called LIFE, The Lighter Side of News. Go figure. This time the picture came up
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 30, 2000
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          This Salon article is featured on one of AOL's subscriber pages - a
          miscellany called LIFE, The Lighter Side of News. Go figure.

          This time the picture came up on the Salon page and it is the D***dest thing,
          I don't even know what it's supposed to signify.

          <A HREF="http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2000/12/28/baum/index.html">
          http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2000/12/28/baum/index.html</A>

          Mary S
        • Matthew Winslow
          ... I would think it is Aslan punching out the Cowardly Lion, since as we know, Narnia is so superior to Oz. Just ask the article s author. -- Matthew
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 2, 2001
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            Stolzi@... [Stolzi@...] wrote:
            > This Salon article is featured on one of AOL's subscriber pages - a
            > miscellany called LIFE, The Lighter Side of News. Go figure.
            >
            > This time the picture came up on the Salon page and it is the D***dest thing,
            > I don't even know what it's supposed to signify.
            >

            I would think it is Aslan punching out the Cowardly Lion, since as we know,
            Narnia is so superior to Oz. Just ask the article's author. <g>

            --
            Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
            "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and
            clothes."
            --Desiderius Erasmus
            Currently reading: Faith and Wealth by Justo Gonzalez
          • WendellWag@aol.com
            For me, the interesting thing about the _Salon_ article is that it s just one more piece of evidence that there are people there who think that fantasy is just
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 2, 2001
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              For me, the interesting thing about the _Salon_ article is that it's just one
              more piece of evidence that there are people there who think that fantasy is
              just as important as mainstream fiction. There are certainly mistakes and
              odd opinions in the article, but at least they are willing to discuss fantasy
              (even children's fantasy) on the same level as other fiction. Remember,
              _Salon_ is the magazine where they have a bunch of Tolkien fans.

              Wendell Wagner
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