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The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, And the Fantasy Tradition (Essay)

Mythlore 2010, Spring-Summer, 28, 3-4

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PHILIP PULLMAN'S HIS DARK MATERIALS (1995-2000) is one of the most innovative and thought-provoking fantasy series of the 20th century. The books won Pullman many awards and millions of devoted fans all over the world. By the author's admission the trilogy aims to create a "grand narrative" relevant for human situatedness in the world after the death of God ("Talking to Philip Pullman" 117). Pullman's most thorough exposition of this mythopoeic purpose can be found in his 2000 essay "The Republic of Heaven." In the light of his statements, His Dark Materials [HDM] is a secular humanist narrative, which seeks to expose manipulation and power games at the heart of organized religions. It is Pullman's attempt to create "a republican myth" whose power would be comparable to that of the Bible--a myth which would "do what the traditional religious stories did: it [would] explain" ("Republic" 665). Notorious for his narrative attack on religion, Pullman has also created a stir by claiming that his fiction is not fantasy but stark realism, and by criticizing other fantasy writers such as J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and especially C.S. Lewis, as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia. Our focus in this essay is Pullman's statements about fantasy and his declared self-positioning in regard to Lewis. We argue that His Dark Materials is fantasy, and that it fits the generic template of Lewisian fantasy much closer than Pullman would be willing to admit.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, And the Fantasy Tradition (Essay)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 March 2010
  • Publisher: Mythopoeic Society
  • Print Length: 28 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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