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Whose prose?

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  • David Lenander
    I assumed that Mary meant that it was retold by someone else--she probably was aware that Robin Hood s earlier incarnation was primarily in ballads, and that
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 8, 2001
      I assumed that Mary meant that it was retold by someone else--she probably was aware that Robin Hood's earlier incarnation was primarily in ballads, and that the pseudo archaic prose employed by Pyle wasn't composed before the 20th century, but intended to evoke the 14th--or at least an earlier time. There is precedent for this kind of thing, I
      believe that there have been retellings with new illustrations of Peter Rabbit, which may be even worse, since Pyle didn't originate Robin Hood. Nevertheless, just think how it will be in a few decades, when they get around to retelling _The Hobbit_. It's already been re-illustrated a number of times, which I wouldn't mind so much if Tolkien
      hadn't done such a perfect job in the first place. (I actually like some of the other illustrations, I love Tove Jansson's and have a soft spot for the neo-Dulac/Rackham work by Michael Hague). Pyle was a great illustrator, however (which most people probably wouldn't allow for JRRT), and replacing his work with more up-to-date illustrations
      seems tragic. But if they're retooling his prose, excising it from "the collective hindbrain," it is a travesty to continue to put his name on the cover.

      mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:

      >
      >
      > Message: 5
      > Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 09:33:01 -0800
      > From: "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@...>
      > Subject: Re: Robin Hood
      >
      > At 06:00 AM 11/8/2001 , Mary S. wrote:
      >
      > >Then I passed "Howard Pyle, Illustrated Classics Edition, ROBIN HOOD" and
      > >plucked it off the shelf for a reminiscent glance.
      > >
      > >Guess what, none of that fine 14th century prose, it was "Retold by..." and
      > >NOT ONLY THAT, the illustrations were by =somebody else=. Howard Pyle, my
      > >foot!
      >
      > I'm not sure whether you're lamenting or (ironically) celebrating the
      > absence of that 14th-century prose, but ...
      >
      > There isn't any 14th-century prose about Robin Hood, just ballad-songs and
      > snatches. And there are some Elizabethan plays (also mostly in verse, I
      > think). But apart from cameo appearances in Walter Scott novels and things
      > like that, most of the prose fiction about Robin Hood is Victorian or
      > later. There's really no equivalent to Malory's Morte d'Arthur, but the
      > single closest thing to a full prose rendition of the Robin Hood tale
      > that's lodged itself in the collective hindbrain, and which all later
      > writers either have to follow or play off on, is ...
      >
      > Howard Pyle's.
      >
      > Though it's a shame you couldn't find an edition with Pyle's own illustrations.
      >
      > David Bratman
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

      --

      David Lenander, Library Manager I

      University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library Access Services

      Diehl Hall / 505 Essex SE, / Mpls., MN 55455

      Phone: work: (612)626-3375 fax: (612)626-2454 home: (651)292-8887

      e-mail: d-lena@... web-page: http://umn.edu/~d-lena/OnceUponATime.html
    • David S. Bratman
      ... Oh, Howard Pyle retold by somebody else? Ah: I didn t pick that up at all. Pyle s work itself is a retelling of sorts - though not of the kind you re
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 8, 2001
        At 11:32 AM 11/8/2001 , DL wrote:
        >I assumed that Mary meant that it was retold by someone else

        Oh, Howard Pyle retold by somebody else? Ah: I didn't pick that up at all.
        Pyle's work itself is a retelling of sorts - though not of the kind you're
        discussing - and I thought an edition might say that on the t.p.

        But in the case your're describing, yes, it's as regrettable as a retelling
        of Peter Rabbit or The Hobbit - or the Chronicles of Narnia. In all the
        fuss over possible fumigated sequels, there's been little note of the fact
        that retellings of the original stories, in stripped-down language for
        small children - and in who knows what stripped-down storyline, because I
        didn't bother to read the things - have actually been published!

        David Bratman
      • Stolzi@aol.com
        Sorry I didn t make that clear. My point was, if it s not Pyle s imitation something-century prose, and it s not Pyle s pictures either, then how on earth is
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 8, 2001
          Sorry I didn't make that clear. My point was, if it's not Pyle's imitation
          something-century prose, and it's not Pyle's pictures either, then how on
          earth is it Pyle's Robin Hood? (well, o.k., it may follow his story line,
          but no more...)

          As for whether I like his style or not, DavidB, I was probably being rather
          ironic in memory of the piece written for BUTTERBUR'S WOODSHED some years
          back by a guy named AP McQuiddy who simply =hated= it :) An enjoyable roast.

          Retold HOBBIT... brrrr!

          On a similar tack, I was at Costco warehouse store today and they had =large=
          paperbacks, with well-laid-out pages and type, of the seven Narnia books
          together in one volume, with at least some (I didn't check to see if it was
          all) of the Baynes illustrations, nice clear reproductions. Hope these will
          go under lots of Christmas trees. Price was around $12 I think.

          In accordance with the new Harper-Collins party line, the stories are
          arranged with MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW first.

          The movie-related one-volume LOTR was also available, plus smaller paperbacks
          of THE HOBBIT and THE SILMARILLION.

          Personally, I bought TALIBAN by Ahmad Rashid, and I only wish =that= were
          fantasy fiction.

          Diamond Proudbrook
        • David S. Bratman
          ... Not to justify this misuse of Pyle s name, but his story line is not an insignificant borrowing - not in a case like Robin Hood, which has no canonical
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 9, 2001
            At 06:00 PM 11/8/2001 , Mary S. wrote:

            >My point was, if it's not Pyle's imitation
            >something-century prose, and it's not Pyle's pictures either, then how on
            >earth is it Pyle's Robin Hood? (well, o.k., it may follow his story line,
            >but no more...)

            Not to justify this misuse of Pyle's name, but his story line is not an
            insignificant borrowing - not in a case like Robin Hood, which has no
            canonical story line.

            Just like, from now on, any attempt to retell _The Lord of the Rings_ with
            Arwen carrying off Frodo will be Peter Jackson's _Lord of the Rings_, not
            Tolkien's. And I bet there'll be a lot of such attempts. Consider this a
            useful weapon.

            >On a similar tack, I was at Costco warehouse store today and they had =large=
            >paperbacks, with well-laid-out pages and type, of the seven Narnia books
            >together in one volume, with at least some (I didn't check to see if it was
            >all) of the Baynes illustrations, nice clear reproductions. Hope these will
            >go under lots of Christmas trees. Price was around $12 I think.
            >
            >In accordance with the new Harper-Collins party line, the stories are
            >arranged with MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW first.

            I saw that. I opened it to the beginning and read the opening of
            _Magician's Nephew_, a book I hadn't actually read in years. And in the
            very first paragraph it says, without any preamble or explanation of what
            that strange name means, that this story will tell you how the travels
            between our world and Narnia first began.

            OK, you can read that without knowing what Narnia is, but it's obviously
            addressed at people who've previously read of other such travels. How on
            earth anyone, even CSL himself, could think this book is _intended_ to be
            read before LWW - that totally escapes me.

            David Bratman
          • Joan Marie Verba
            ... As a dissenting view, I read the Magician s Nephew first, on recommendation of those who urged me to read the Narnia series. I knew what Narnia was before
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 9, 2001
              "David S. Bratman" wrote:

              > >In accordance with the new Harper-Collins party line, the stories are
              > >arranged with MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW first.
              >
              > I saw that. I opened it to the beginning and read the opening of
              > _Magician's Nephew_, a book I hadn't actually read in years. And in the
              > very first paragraph it says, without any preamble or explanation of what
              > that strange name means, that this story will tell you how the travels
              > between our world and Narnia first began.
              >
              > OK, you can read that without knowing what Narnia is, but it's obviously
              > addressed at people who've previously read of other such travels. How on
              > earth anyone, even CSL himself, could think this book is _intended_ to be
              > read before LWW - that totally escapes me.

              As a dissenting view, I read the Magician's Nephew first, on
              recommendation of those who urged me to read the Narnia series. I knew
              what Narnia was before I read the books because they told me. And when I
              read it to my younger sister, I read the Magician's Nephew first. I
              don't recall any confusion on this issue.

              Joan

              ******************************************
              Joan Marie Verba
              verba001@...
              http://www.sff.net/people/Joan.Marie.Verba
            • David S. Bratman
              ... Joan, your second sentence answers your own argument. You already knew what Narnia was. Such knowledge wouldn t be necessary if you d read LWW first, and
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 9, 2001
                At 01:36 PM 11/9/2001 , Joan Marie Verba wrote:

                >As a dissenting view, I read the Magician's Nephew first, on
                >recommendation of those who urged me to read the Narnia series. I knew
                >what Narnia was before I read the books because they told me. And when I
                >read it to my younger sister, I read the Magician's Nephew first. I
                >don't recall any confusion on this issue.

                Joan, your second sentence answers your own argument. You already knew
                what Narnia was. Such knowledge wouldn't be necessary if you'd read LWW
                first, and the fact that you mention this shows that "Nephew" wasn't meant
                to be first.

                Indeed, I'd go further than that. I wrote about "Nephew":

                >> OK, you can read that without knowing what Narnia is, but it's obviously
                >> addressed at people who've previously read of other such travels.

                In other words, the book CAN be read first even by people who don't have
                your advantage of having already been told about Narnia. But that's
                obviously not the author's intent. Heck, you can even read "The Horse and
                His Boy" or "The Last Battle" first. But if the books are going to be put
                in order, it's as clear as can be that none of these is the first. (And
                don't say "Nephew takes place first" unless you've never heard of flashbacks.)


                On the subject of putting books in order, I must confess to a little
                practical joke at the bookstore.

                Mary S. described

                >the seven-vol edition of LOTR recently mentioned here. What catches the
                eye is
                >that each volume has one letter printed at the top of its spine, thus
                >
                > T O L K I E N
                >
                >very catchy.

                Indeed. There was an unwrapped copy of this at Borders last night, and
                after looking through the volumes - and still feeling irritated about that
                one-volume Narnia in the wrong order - I found myself moved, perhaps by the
                imp of Dean Acheson, to replace them in a new order. Rejecting T O L K E I
                N as just too cruel, I tried K I N E L O T and L O N E K I T before
                settling on L O K I N E T. LokiNet, sounds like a good Norse ISP.
              • Paul F. Labaki
                I couldn t agree with you more, David. I discovered Pyle s Robin Hood on my aunt s bookshelf when I was nine years old. At that age, I don t know that I
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 10, 2001
                  I couldn't agree with you more, David. I discovered Pyle's Robin Hood on my
                  aunt's bookshelf when I was nine years old. At that age, I don't know that
                  I could have found any better treasure.

                  The volume, which I still feel slightly guilty about not having returned, lo
                  these 30 years later, has no printing or copyright date, published by
                  Doubleday Classics. A hardcover with a yellow spine, an ornate cover and end
                  pages covered with images of toys in green ink, it is in terribly battered
                  condition from too many hours lovingly pouring through its pages. And it
                  has Pyle's illustrations. (If I'm remembering correctly, he thought of
                  himself as an illustrator first, writing as a secondary activity, really a
                  hobby.)

                  Can anyone tell me what its date of printing was? I've always been curious,
                  as I noticed this even the first time around.

                  Peace,
                  Paul Labaki

                  > From: David Lenander <d-lena@...>
                  > Organization: University of Minnesota
                  > Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  > Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 13:32:17 -0600
                  > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [mythsoc] Whose prose?
                  >
                  > I assumed that Mary meant that it was retold by someone else--she probably was
                  > aware that Robin Hood's earlier incarnation was primarily in ballads, and that
                  > the pseudo archaic prose employed by Pyle wasn't composed before the 20th
                  > century, but intended to evoke the 14th--or at least an earlier time. There
                  > is precedent for this kind of thing, I
                  > believe that there have been retellings with new illustrations of Peter
                  > Rabbit, which may be even worse, since Pyle didn't originate Robin Hood.
                  > Nevertheless, just think how it will be in a few decades, when they get around
                  > to retelling _The Hobbit_. It's already been re-illustrated a number of
                  > times, which I wouldn't mind so much if Tolkien
                  > hadn't done such a perfect job in the first place. (I actually like some of
                  > the other illustrations, I love Tove Jansson's and have a soft spot for the
                  > neo-Dulac/Rackham work by Michael Hague). Pyle was a great illustrator,
                  > however (which most people probably wouldn't allow for JRRT), and replacing
                  > his work with more up-to-date illustrations
                  > seems tragic. But if they're retooling his prose, excising it from "the
                  > collective hindbrain," it is a travesty to continue to put his name on the
                  > cover.
                  >
                  > mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                  >
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> Message: 5
                  >> Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 09:33:01 -0800
                  >> From: "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@...>
                  >> Subject: Re: Robin Hood
                  >>
                  >> At 06:00 AM 11/8/2001 , Mary S. wrote:
                  >>
                  >>> Then I passed "Howard Pyle, Illustrated Classics Edition, ROBIN HOOD" and
                  >>> plucked it off the shelf for a reminiscent glance.
                  >>>
                  >>> Guess what, none of that fine 14th century prose, it was "Retold by..." and
                  >>> NOT ONLY THAT, the illustrations were by =somebody else=. Howard Pyle, my
                  >>> foot!
                  >>
                  >> I'm not sure whether you're lamenting or (ironically) celebrating the
                  >> absence of that 14th-century prose, but ...
                  >>
                  >> There isn't any 14th-century prose about Robin Hood, just ballad-songs and
                  >> snatches. And there are some Elizabethan plays (also mostly in verse, I
                  >> think). But apart from cameo appearances in Walter Scott novels and things
                  >> like that, most of the prose fiction about Robin Hood is Victorian or
                  >> later. There's really no equivalent to Malory's Morte d'Arthur, but the
                  >> single closest thing to a full prose rendition of the Robin Hood tale
                  >> that's lodged itself in the collective hindbrain, and which all later
                  >> writers either have to follow or play off on, is ...
                  >>
                  >> Howard Pyle's.
                  >>
                  >> Though it's a shame you couldn't find an edition with Pyle's own
                  >> illustrations.
                  >>
                  >> David Bratman
                  >>
                  >> ________________________________________________________________________
                  >> ________________________________________________________________________
                  >>
                  >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  > --
                  >
                  > David Lenander, Library Manager I
                  >
                  > University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library Access Services
                  >
                  > Diehl Hall / 505 Essex SE, / Mpls., MN 55455
                  >
                  > Phone: work: (612)626-3375 fax: (612)626-2454 home: (651)292-8887
                  >
                  > e-mail: d-lena@... web-page: http://umn.edu/~d-lena/OnceUponATime.html
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                • Stolzi@aol.com
                  In a message dated 11/9/01 5:23:38 PM Central Standard Time, ... Why Dean Acheson? Present at the Creation, you mean? Oh, David, just think of the poor soul
                  Message 8 of 9 , Nov 10, 2001
                    In a message dated 11/9/01 5:23:38 PM Central Standard Time,
                    dbratman@... writes:

                    > Indeed. There was an unwrapped copy of this at Borders last night, and
                    > after looking through the volumes - and still feeling irritated about that
                    > one-volume Narnia in the wrong order - I found myself moved, perhaps by the
                    > imp of Dean Acheson, to replace them in a new order. Rejecting T O L K E I
                    > N as just too cruel, I tried K I N E L O T and L O N E K I T before
                    > settling on L O K I N E T. LokiNet, sounds like a good Norse ISP.

                    Why Dean Acheson? "Present at the Creation," you mean?

                    Oh, David, just think of the poor soul who buys that set, takes them home,
                    and tries to read THEM in the order you put them in! <GGG> Will =he= (or
                    she) have a lot of flashbacks to cope with!

                    Diamond Proudbrook
                  • David S. Bratman
                    ... If you ve read Present at the Creation, you ll remember that Acheson had an impish sense of humor that came out at odd moments. His most famous such
                    Message 9 of 9 , Nov 10, 2001
                      At 06:17 AM 11/10/2001 , Mary S. wrote:

                      >Why Dean Acheson? "Present at the Creation," you mean?

                      If you've read "Present at the Creation," you'll remember that Acheson had
                      an impish sense of humor that came out at odd moments. His most famous
                      such remark was, "I learned everything I know at my mother's knee, and
                      other low joints."

                      >Oh, David, just think of the poor soul who buys that set, takes them home,
                      >and tries to read THEM in the order you put them in! <GGG> Will =he= (or
                      >she) have a lot of flashbacks to cope with!

                      That (seriously) is why I didn't rearrange it as
                      T O L K E I N, because a purchaser might not realize anything was wrong,
                      considering the number of people who actually spell the author's name that
                      way. (Each title page does identify which volume it is, also.)

                      David Bratman
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