Subject: RE: (urth) DOORS: The Hero, The Otherworld, The Ending Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 10:43:36 -0700 From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes"
> I should explain that reading C S Lewis's books converted me=20 > to Christianity when I was young (but I got better) , and I=20 > was an obsessive fan of Lewis, Tolkien and the Inklings for years. Those books, and especially "Mere Christianity," preserved me in=20 Christian faith at a time when I was particularly prone to falling off. I find them far less, ah, persuasive now, but they served their purpose at the time. > I think, however, that you are fearing a word here. Perhaps. I think, rather, that I am attempting to use words=20 clearly. Words tend to get in between us and "reality," but=20 we can minimize that by using them carefully (and remembering not to let them use us). > When Lewis wrote (at the triumphant climax of PERELANDRA)=20 > that his hero was no longer going to regard Malacandra and=20 > Perelandra as eldilia, but as "Mars and Venus" I believe he=20 > fully understood everything that you are worried about and more. >=20 > I invite you to reread that bit. Well, I agree with what you say, and while I disagree with your interpretation of it, I don't think the list at large probably cares very much, so I'll drop it at this point. > Whether or not this is heresy does not concern me, much.=20 This was not my point; nor do I (as a practicing Catholic) necessarily consider it heresy. My point was that _Lewis_, who was far more conservative than I, would have considered it heresy, and so a liberal dose of caution is indicated=20 prior to attributing such a view to him. > I am an Asatruistic pagan nowadays :). And I don't even know what that means. Neither the dictionary nor Google helped me any. > What I am trying to explain by the coinage "Catholic=20 > Fabulation" is that there is a tradition of storytelling that=20 > runs along these lines. >=20 > It includes the Inklings' work (Williams too) but does NOT =20 > include such unambiguously religious works as, for example, =20 > A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWIZT I suppose I'm quibbling about the word "Catholic" because it seems confining - you point out Williams, and I agree; I might add Tim Powers and James Blaylock as writers who=20 have worked in this tradition. Possibly Connie Willis, but that may be pushing your intent.=20 And the point of my quibble is that the word "Catholic" is so strongly associated, in most peoples' minds, with the Roman Catholic church that -- well, that I didn't even feel a need to say "Roman" when I identified my own denominational association above. It seems better to use the word (mere)=20 Christian to avoid confusion - for, again, clarity. > The difference lies in the treatment of the supernatural. >=20 > CF embraces the supernatural and **enables** it: >=20 > It occurs in the stories, but in drag, in disguise. >=20 > The keynote is that angels or demons or gods pop up and they=20 > pretend to be aliens. God pops up, but he pretends to be The=20 > Increate or The Emperor Over The Sea. >=20 > I believe Wolfe is writing WITHIN that tradition. Nothing here I'd even begin to disagree with. You've identified the elements of a tradition that (as you say) goes back a long way. However, this ... > I furthur believe it goes back a long way - and that it is a=20 > very European tradition, enforced by the historical fact that=20 > the ancient giants and gods and fairies had to be fitted into=20 > a dominating Semitic/Christian framework. while related, seems to be almost the reverse process: where=20 CF (I like the initials, they're usefully ambiguous 8*) )=20 disguises Christian entities as "naturalistic" entities --=20 eg, angels as aliens -- the older syncretism disguised non- Christian entities as Christian entities -- e.g, a goddess as St. Brigid. > It occurs in many Arthurian romances, for example, where the=20 > ancient Celtic legends have to be jammed ino the framework of=20 > Christian explanation: and so in Beowulf. I think what's going on in Beowulf is a bit more complex -- if you've read "The Monsters and the Critics?" To do with the poetic expression of a transitional period when the=20 culture had nominally adopted Christianity but was still=20 largely pagan in outlook, language, and traditions. > Tolkien reflexed back on this - he was in love with "The=20 > Northern Thing" like Lewis, but he had to fit it within "The=20 > Southermn Thing" - Christianity - as a worldview. Wolfe > is doing the same thing and may be taking both Tolkien and > Lewis as mentors. Again, I should not be the least surprised. He could do far worse. --Blattid --