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Re: Digest Number 122

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  • Robert and Jane Bigelow
    Ye all-- I am inspired to read _Ghost Country_. Such inspiration is one of the chief reasons I joined this list, and that I remain. Jane the Equal
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 20, 1999
      Ye all--

      I am inspired to read _Ghost Country_. Such inspiration is one of the
      chief reasons I joined this list, and that I remain.

      the Equal Opportunity Skeptic

      At 11:12 AM 9/17/99 -0500, you wrote:
      >From: Joe Christopher <jchristopher@...>
      >The answer you received from Steve is probably OK from the point of view of
      >the discussion here, but I'd like to take it the discussion in a different,
      >adult direction. C. S. Lewis, in "Shelley, Dryden, and Mr. Eliot," has an
      >interesting comment: "For my own part, I do not believe that the poetic
      >value of any poem [let us add fiction] is identical with the philosophic;
      >but I think they can differ only to a limited extent, so that every poem
      >[fiction] whose prosaic or intellectual basis is silly, shallow, perverse,
      >or illiberal, or even radically erroneous, is in some degree crippled by
      >that fact." Lewis is at that point discussing Shelley's "Epipsychidion,"
      >which he believes flawed, but he goes on to praise highly the last act of
      >_Prometheus Unbound_ as a great statement of a universal myth. Now then, an
      >application. I thought one of the best fantasy novels last year was Sara
      >Paretsky's _Ghost Country_. I don't know a thing about Paretsky's religious
      >beliefs, but the novel itself is both pagan and anti-Christian; the fantasy
      >element, when it appears, takes the form of a goddess enacting, with pagan
      >emphases, Christ's life. But it is a well-written novel--thus good
      >artistically. As a Christian, I regret (1) the satiric portrayals of
      >Christians, (2) the encouragement of sexual license (the goddess is a
      >fertility goddess), and (3) the parody of the life of Christ. But I don't
      >regret reading the novel. Intellectually, I suppose one could say that (1)
      >the satire of Christians is sometimes deserved; (2) most of the citizens of
      >this country are not Christians (or Jews or Moslems) in any meaningful way,
      >and there is no reason to expect them to live by Christian (etc.) sexual
      >standards (nor do Christians always, being fallen); (3) the parody speaks to
      >the power of the prototype, as Lewis argued that pagan myths of corn-gods,
      >etc., foreshadowed the Christian story. (I mentioned the sexual standards
      >of Christians, Jews, and Moslems because I know what they are; I don't know
      >enough to use the example of Buddhists, for example.) But I think the novel
      >is an interesting case because it is so clearly two things: both
      >anti-Christian in several ways and very well written, with good
      >characterizations, etc., even with some healthy psychological growth of
      >characters outside of Christian terms. (Someone may jump on my use of
      >"healthy" but there's additional maturity for one character and a finding of
      >human love for two others. I think many Christians would agree that, within
      >strictly human terms, the developments are healthy.) In short, the novel
      >raises interesting questions that apply to your letter. To what degree does
      >the content of a literary work affect our _final_ judgment of that work?
      >Thanks for opening the can of worms--
      >>Message: 22
      >> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 17:42:32 -0700 (PDT)
      >> From: Edith Louise Crowe <ecrowe@...>
      >>Subject: Neopagans
      >>This is a can of worms I may be sorry I opened, but the Mythopoeic Society
      >>is a literary organization, not a religious one. I would hate to think a
      >>portrayal of a real neopagan disqualified a fantasy novel from
      >>readability. I'm not a Christian, nor a neopagan either, but I've cetainly
      >>enjoyed fantasy novels from both those perspectives.
      >>Edith Crowe
      >>The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
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