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Re: [mythsoc] Rowling - an Inkling??

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  • Ernest Tomlinson
    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
    Message 1 of 31 , Feb 28, 2003
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      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@...>
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      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
      seen to
      > 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?


    • Paul F. Labaki
      Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly. Peace, Paul Labaki From: David S Bratman Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Date: Sat, 01
      Message 31 of 31 , Mar 10, 2003
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        Thank you, David, for putting this so aptly.

        Paul Labaki

        From: David S Bratman <dbratman@...>
        Reply-To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 09:33:14 -0800
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        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 the
        >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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