Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday, June 06, 2009
That this journey passes through and beyond Saturn means that the new Joviality is even more joyful than before, more meaningful and poignant, more completely diffused with 'tragic splendour'.This is an excellent book. Ward makes a powerful case for an overarching metanarrative for the seven Chronicles of Narnia, and ties them into a Christianity which doesn't isolate itself from culture but absorbs it and shows how humanity can't help but reflect its shaping divinity.
A sceptical account of this imaginative journey would configure it quite differently. Lewis's recidivist Joviality would be taken rather as evidence of a refusal to learn from experience, an inability to grow up and to accept thre incorrigible harshness of the world. ... Humphrey Carpenter, in The Inklings, suggests that the boyishness evident in the Chronicles [of Narnia] was only the superficially attractive flip-side of prejudices against modernism, liberalism, and anything that stood opposed to the old-fashioned, conservative world in which Lewis was brought up. Philip Pullman goes further and contends that there is a 'life-hating ideology' at work in Lewis's willingness to massacre his cast at the end of the Narniad. Pullman thinks Lewis should have allowed Peter to 'go on and be a father'. He thinks Lewis was afraid of maturation. ...
... the premises upon which Lewis is arraigned ... are themselves open to challenge, for their allegations about 'immaturity' assume that the more bleak an outlook, the more adult (that is, wise) it must necessarily be.... in an attempt to find a balance, it will be worth recording the subtleties of Lewis's attitude to youth and age, the arguments ge mounted against those who accused him of 'Peter Pantheism,' his asperity toward poets who never got 'beyond the pageant of [their] bleeding heart,' the seriousness with which he regarded mortality and loss, and the donegalitarian requirements of writing a Saturnine story in which death could no more be omitted than war could have been left out of Prince Caspian.
... Too easily, in his view, the writers of his generation assumed that brains splattered upon a wall represented what life was 'really like' and that the consolations of religion were 'really' only a trick of the nerves.
"Planet Narnia", p.209-210, Michael Ward
at 9:48 pm