Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??
- This thread raises the question of what, if anything, it means to be a
modern-day Inkling. As I see it, the distinguishing characteristics of the
Inklings weren't so much that they were Christians writing Christian
books--not all of the Inklings' books were Christian, except if you stretch
the application of the adjective "Christian" almost to meaninglessness--but
that they were by and large academic men, well-read to a degree that we
products of American public schools can only dream about, and possessed a
profound knowledge and appreciation for the literature and myths of the
past, especially Northern European mythology. I know little of Rowling
outside of her writings, but I don't see much evidence for that same
profound learning and appreciation for mythology that flavors the Inklings'
What bothers me most about the Harry Potter books, morally speaking, is that
Harry often seems protected from the consequences of his actions. When
(say) Eustace and Jill stuff things up in _The Silver Chair_, they know it
and have to live with it. (One can complain of course that Lewis
demonstrates this to us too patly or too didactically.) When Harry breaks
some rule or makes some stupid mistake, like as not Dumbledore, seen or
unseen, steps in to save the day. The most egregious example of this occurs
at the end of _Harry Potter and the Philosophers' Stone_, when Dumbledore
arbitrarily awards enough points to Gryffindor (sp?) to make up for the
points that Harry and his friends lost their house when caught during one of
their midnight escapades. That scene had a friend of mine (not a Christian
BTW) up in arms over its unfairness; he told me that if he were at the
Slytherin table when that happened, he'd be on his feet and shouting.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason M. Abels" <jason@...>
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 12:52 PM
Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??
> Maybe I'm just too picky? I assign the term "Christian" to a book that
> relates itself to christianity, such as the Narnia books and the Left
> series. (Sorry to mention those in the same sentence. That should not be
> indicate that they are anwhere close to each other in quality and
Has anyone here read the "Left Behind" books? It's hard for me to go a week
without seeing one, if even only on a supermarket bookshelf, and of course
if you go into a Christian bookstore, as I do now and again, you're likely
to find a third of the story devoted to "Left Behind" books and spinoffs.
And judging from how many "Left Behind" books have come out so far, I can
only conclude that the Rapture, when it happens, is going to take a heck of
a long time to happen. Dash it all, I'm sort of curious. So, just what are
these books like? Anyone?
- Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.
From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??
Lizzie, what do you mean? That writing in the spirit of the Inklings
should be currently pertinent? Lewis wouldn't think so. He says somewhere
that nothing goes out of date faster than that which tries hardest to stay
up to date. (My own phrasing of this, conceived independently, is "Those
who live by the cutting edge die by the cutting edge.") The Inklings were
in search of what was eternally up to date, and that is why their 40 to 70
year old novels are still meaningful and read today. LOTR in particular
was considered by many to be ludicrously out of step with the current
concerns of the 1950s, but the Inklings suspected it would wear better than
many of the more typical cultural artifacts of the era, and they were
right. Those who admired it when it was new thought it would be a
masterpiece at any date.
That spirit is part of what I'm looking for when I'm searching for new
books in the spirit of the Inklings. I want books that would have been
just as good if they were published 50 years ago as they are now, because
those are the ones that will be just as good 50 years from now.
- David Bratman
At 07:23 AM 3/1/2003 -0500, Lizzie Triano wrote:
>I think it is worth discussing. I don't know what my opinion is on theYahoo! Groups Sponsor ADVERTISEMENT
>specific Rowling question, but I have long been developing the opinion that
>the Inkling Spirit today would be perhaps unrecognizable to the Inklings
>Then. After all, the churches probably are, post-Vatican-II and ordaining
>women priests, arguing the various sex and social justice issues, and all
>sorts of such things. There is surrealism and spirituality in the
>non-churched (which was of course true in the Victorian era), and there
>needs must be practicality and stuff in the church (which I would imagine
>there was among veteran Christians such as Tolkien, more than among today's
>peace-raised peoples). We are not hungry enough, we are too content. What
>would the Spirit tell stories about today?
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