Re: [mythsoc] Philip Pullman article
- In a message dated 3/5/01 1:34:20 PM Central Standard Time,
> At 06:49 PM 3/3/2001 , Mary S. wrote:written.
> >"Take C. S. Lewis's allegories. They are some of the vilest ever
> >They are fascist in style and in method. If you want to see what I mean,Also
> >read the first page of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Although I may
> >to agree with the opinions, Lewis sneers at people. People who behave in
> >way he describes I _may_ find objectionable. But he says they _are_.
> IYou make some good points here, but let's argue further.
> >think the books are very badly written and morally repugnant." -- Not
> >Philip Pullman
> >Of course Lewis never says anything at all about Harold, Alberta and
> >except to report how they live, and act. The author doesn't "sneer" at
> >family, but he does report that the Pevensies find all of them unlikable:
> >that a crime?
> I would describe Lewis's depiction of Eustace's parents as the textbook
> example of how to sneer at somebody without saying so in so many words.
> The art of writing a purportedly neutral description that conveys disdain
> is a very old art, practiced often by journalists. It can even be
> accomplished in documentary film: see "Trekkies" if you don't believe it
> can be done. As for Eustace himself, Lewis says (quote from memory) "he
> almost deserved" his name. I'd call that a sneer.
> If you read the whole book, this impression is only confirmed. Eustace, asit
> we first meet him, is portrayed in a strongly negative way, and one can't
> say, "Well, that's just the Pevensies' opinion of him" (and the Narnians',
> too). As far as Eustace is concerned, the plot of the book is his
> redemption. Thus, his initial bad behavior isn't inherent in him: it's how
> he's been raised. His initial description doesn't focus on his behavior
> (which we learn of later), but on his parents being vegetarians, etc. How
> is that relevant if not as an explanation of the kind of person he is? And
> at the end, his mother disapproves of the new Eustace.
> >Fascist? Could someone explain to me what "fascist style" is? Whatever
> >is, it can hardly be Lewis'. Poor man. This, it seems to me, is notWell, yes: but I was making a counter-case. Also it's my opinion that
> >literary criticism but mere name-calling.
> Only insofar as "fascist" is a dirty word. And it is, to an extent.
> Not-Pullman should not have said that. Nevertheless, I know what he means.
> "Fascist style," as I think Mary guessed from her reference to "bullying"
> below, is a bullying approach to argumentation. Hiding argumentation under
> the guise of being neutral is a particularly effective form of bullying.
> >It absolutely beats me, really.
> >Harold and Alberta's regime is far more like fascism than the Pevensies'
> >of life. And it is Eustace who "likes bullying."
> Not-Pullman isn't accusing Lewis's favored characters of bullying, but
> Lewis himself. And he said nothing about fascism itself, or fascist tastes
Fascists are bullies. Thus a character like Eustace, who bullies, is more
like a Fascist than the Pevensies, whom Lewis approves and who do not bully.
> (did Mussolini promote vegetarianism?), but fascist style.I don't know if Hitler "promoted" vegetarianism, but he was, in fact, a
vegetarian, which is what I was thinking of when I made the allusion.
Fascists were also big on fresh air and calisthenics (though I don't know
about underwear) - ever hear of "Strength through Joy"?
> I like VDT, but despite, not because of, these matters. I try to ignoreI agree! in fact it's my favorite of the seven. And given your statement
> the argumentation, and read the book as an imram - a re-envisaging of a
> voyage like St. Brendan's. As such, it's effective and wonderfully
above, would you agree that Not-Pullman is wrong when he calls the books
I mean, almost everybody thinks Lewis is a good =writer=, even those who
reject his ideology and argumentation.
> >And all this is to ignore the fact that Lewis' tales are mostemphatically
> >(he protests) NOT allegories.Nope, you need to re-read Lewis' own description of what he was doing and how
> Aslan is not an allegory of Christ? Could have fooled me.
it differed from allegory.
> Steve Schaper wrote:idea
> >That is not what fascism is. Fascism is the ideology that rejects the
> >of the transcendant-objective signified as a 'Jewish' (or Christian)notion,
> > >rejects the concept of the individual and individual responsibility asa
> >bourgeois notion, and embraces the group will to power as the greatestgood.
>Of course. Tyrannies of the Left and the Right are alike... as Orwell (for
> This is so general, it could almost describe Communism.
one) recognized. And btw, the Soviet writers I had to read for my courses
were also adept at sneering at the characters they wanted the reader to
- In a message dated 3/10/01 12:56:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@...
<< Must today's children be protected from Lewis'
evils? Or should the first chapter be revised to say simply that "Eustace's
parents were rather disagreeable people" - as DR DOOLITTLE has (in my view
rightly) been rewritten in certain parts, as PL Travers rewrote a bothersome
chapter of MARY POPPINS? >>
It's possible to take a middle position. It's possible to think a writer is
good and to agree with him on many things and yet to disagree with him on
others, while not finding it necessary to tell children that they should
ignore certain points in the book. I give all my nieces and nephews a copy
of the Chronicles of Narnia. I agree with much of Lewis said, but I think
that (like anyone else) he was incorrect on a few issues. I don't find it
necessary to include an "errata" list of wrong ideas in Lewis's books (or
anyone else's books I give as presents). I think that my nieces and nephews
are already learning the lesson that they should read a lot of books and
think for themselves about the issues involved.