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Pullman Slams Narnia

Fantasy author Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) is going medieval on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. His controversial comments call the Narnia works “reactionary”, “racist” and “misogynistic”. From the BBC article:

“If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they’ll just have to tell lies about it,” he told The Observer.

“It’s not the presence of Christian doctrine I object to so much as the absence of Christian virtue,” he added.

“The highest virtue – we have on the authority of the New Testament itself – is love, and yet you find not a trace of that in the books.”

The BBC article also lists many comments from its readers.

As posted earlier, the adaptation of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which tells of a battle against the church and a fight to overthrow God, has undergone it’s share of hardships – including director changes.

[BBC link via Alien Online]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

4 Comments on Pullman Slams Narnia

  1. Update: If it means anything, Time Magazine lists The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as one of the 100 All-Time Best Novels

  2. I guess sales of Pullman’s works have slowed down, so he had to go on a rampage.

  3. Mr. Pullman has unfortunately overstepped the boundaries of good sense and good taste by publicly criticizing an author superior to him.

    Mr. Pullman has good storytelling instincts, and he can create scenes of Homeric grandeur when describing a clash between armored bears, or scenes of eerie beauty when describing the witches of Lapland flying through the icy air. It is when he puts his instincts aside, and ceases to tell a story so that he may deliver a heavy-handed lecture on anticlericalism, that the story ceases to entertain. He has an ax to grind, and it makes for dull reading.

    Mr. Lewis, on the other hand, rarely prostitutes his story telling instinct to his lecturing instinct. Oh, he might pause to make a wry quip about vegetarians or experimental schools or busybodies, but in general he sets his genius to create scenes of pure fairytale magic, as when greed transforms a self-centered boy into a weeping dragon, or a mouse braver than any other sails across the end of the world and vanishes, or the trees whisper the rumor that the King of the Forest is come again, and will end the world?s winter.

    The roots of Narnia are in the sentiment and stoicism of the Norse saga as much as in any Bible tale. A non-Christian can read Lewis with perfect delight, for the Christian elements are not so obvious as to offend his sensibilities; but a Christian cannot read Pullman without a suspension, not merely of his disbelief, but also of his belief.

    What Mr. Pullman cannot do well is construct a reasonable critique of Mr. Lewis? work, but instead must stoop to shopworn politically-correct slogans and slanders: racist, misogynist, et cetera et ad nauseam. Take away the criticism that Mr. Pullman would level against any Christian man of letters, and what do you have?

  4. I’ve always heard the Lewis intended to include Christian symbolism into Narnia. The first book certainly includes many elements of that. However, I’ve always felt that was the only one – that the rest of the books (and I just read a few to my son) don’t really include much beyond basic ideals.

    And I guess I’d argue that Aslan’s love for the land of Narnia and (most of) its creatures is pretty solid – as is the children’s love of him.

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