Re: [mythsoc] My two bits on HPV
- My goodness, I knew I should keep my mouth shut!!! Here I am, sitting in my
office trying to work on my dissertation and now I have created a huge
distraction for myself. I will really have to reply to this later, because the
answer is quite involved. But a brief, first approximation might be something
Coleridge, following a long philosophic tradition, distinguished between insights
into the deep structure and meaning of existence which are a reflection of divine
origin of things (Coleridge calls this Reason, or sometimes the platonic NOUS
[Latin, Intellectus]), and more superficial insights have to do with means and
ends or simple causes and effects (this he calls Understanding, or the platonic
DIANOIA [Latin, Ratio]). Imagination is connected to the deeper form of insight,
fancy to the more superficial and is characterized by a kind of rearrangement and
cobbling together of things well known. Fancy, I would say, may be creative,
inventive, and entertaining (it may also manifest itself as the worst forms of
kitsch), but Imagination touches some deeper mystery--the mythic, the (Ugh,
forgive me!) metaphysical. Tolkien's "subcreation" is closely related to
These matters are highly controversial in literary circles, of course. I just
have to say that I am on the side of Owen Barfield's interpretation of all this;
I would highly recommend his What Coleridge Thought for the details (chapters VII
and VIII), as well as his Poetic Diction which approaches the same subject matter
from a rather different direction.
No doubt, others of you out there know a lot more about this than I do and will
have some corrections, qualifications, and outright objections. That's one of
the reasons why I joined this list. If someone better than myself (please God)
doesn't clear all this up, I will try to put something together when I am at home
and have to right books at my fingertips.
Elizabeth Apgar Triano wrote:
> <<Coleridge made a distinction between
> fantasy and imagination:>>
> He called them fancy and imagination, however. >>
> OK gentlemen. And how did he define them? And in which category did the
> Xanadu fragment fall?
> and thank you Alexei for the dictionary info... I was hoping you would jump
> in there. :-)
> Lizzie Triano
> amor vincit omnia
> The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
- From: "Kevin Bowring" <bowring@...>
> Well, I just finish HPV. I am afraid I didn't enjoy it as much as theothers,
> and I agree that it was too long.I just finished it as well. Yes, it had a hefty page count, but it never
bored me and I zipped through it in two days, so I would say it didn't feel
too long to me.
From here on, I'm going to go into spoiler territory, so
>During this book I kept re-imagining scenes inbetween
> forms that I would have liked better. Coleridge made a distinction
> fantasy and imagination: Rowling seems to operate from the former morethan the
> latter--she doesn't really seem to reach the "mythic" very often, and Ikeep
> wanting to sense something deeper going on beneath the story surface.I felt this was a transitional book. Harry is so moody, he is much less
likeable. It was kind of a shock to find out that his father tormented
Snape when they were students. James Potter and Sirius were likened to Fred
and George, but their bullying behavior was more like Malfoy and his
cronies. It was inexcusable at any age. So maybe James wasn't the shining
hero we've been led to believe. And Aunt Petunia is shown in a slightly
more favorable light.
I see the whole series as light fantasy -- not much of the mythic except in
the creation of a hidden world of magic and her use of mythological
creatures -- including the original ones which Hagrid brings into class.
> this from the beginning, but the earlier book were enjoyable for their
> inventiveness.I agree, this is one of the series' strongest charms. There was not much
new except for Fred's and George's joke-shop inventions, which weren't
terribly amusing to the reader.
>Also, I want Harry todoes at
> grow as a character, but he seems much the same at the end of HPV as he
> the beginning, despite everything that has happened.No, he doesn't really grow. He's stuck in an adolescent state of hormones
and rebelliousness that isn't terribly attractive.
Ginny Weasley, though -- keep your eye on that girl! Note how smoothly
she's going through puberty, socially-speaking. She's picking and choosing
which guys she wants to date, she's good at Quidditch, and she's showing
strong skills as a wizard already.
Another one who grew in this book was Neville. I was afraid that he was to
be the one killed off, which would have been a pity as he is just now
blossoming. Wouldn't it be a hoot if he were the one who kills Voldemort in
the end after all?
I found the death of Sirius didn't really touch me that much. He, too, was
much less appealing in this book. We saw him as a teen, egging on James to
torment Snape. He tries to live vicariously through Harry, egging him on to
what he shouldn't. His death was nowhere near as touching as the torment
Mrs. Weasley went through with the boggart showing her all her loved ones
It was good to get a good reason why Harry has to return to Privet Drive
each summer and also that the Sorting Hat had wanted to put Hermione in
Ravenclaw, where she so clearly belongs.
- Berni Phillips wrote:
> There was not much new except for Fred's and George's joke-shop inventions,I agree--I thought they were positively tedious, despite their usefulness against
> which weren't terribly amusing to the reader.
> No, he doesn't really grow. He's stuck in an adolescent state of hormonesThis was part of the problem with the book: over the course of some 870 pages, a
> and rebelliousness that isn't terribly attractive.
little growth would be good, even if as you rightly say this is a "transitional
Also, I entirely agree with you about Ginny and Neville, although Ron and
Hermione seemed a little flatter as characters.
> I found the death of Sirius didn't really touch me that much. He, too, wasThis is exactly the kind of thing that was problematic to me. And because you
> much less appealing in this book. We saw him as a teen, egging on James to
> torment Snape. He tries to live vicariously through Harry, egging him on to
> what he shouldn't. His death was nowhere near as touching as the torment
> Mrs. Weasley went through with the boggart showing her all her loved ones
don't feel strongly about the death of Sirius--a character I had really liked in
the previous books--Harry's anger at Dumbledore seems forced and too peevish.
Also, the confrontation between Harry and Dumbledore opened up enormous
imaginative possibilities that, it seemed to me, never came to fruition. I hate
it when I am imagining something better than what is in the book! I also found
myself circling clunky phraseology. (Maybe I was just getting cranky from doing
so much writing of my own.)
> It was good to get a good reason why Harry has to return to Privet DriveAgain, couldn't agree more--but more could have been, should have been, done with
> each summer and also that the Sorting Hat had wanted to put Hermione in
> Ravenclaw, where she so clearly belongs.
Berni, I appreciated all your comments