Cultural theory dressed up as journalism
Big and Bad

The most Dangerous author in Britain

I was enthralled to read a while back that New Line Cinema, the studio behind the Lord of the Rings triology, has started casting the first part of Phillip Pullman's fabulous trilogy "His Dark Materials". I absolutely loved those books and found it intriguing to see how much Pullman draws on Milton's "Paradise Lost" and the works of William Blake, as I was quite obsessed with those works myself in my early teens.

Peter Hitchens, the conservative British columnist, famously published an article about Pullman entitled “This Is the Most Dangerous Author in Britain”, in which he called him the writer “the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.” The New Yorker came up with a more informative review in this excellent article: “His Dark Materials” may be the first fantasy series founded upon the ideals of the Enlightenment rather than upon tribal and mythic yearnings for kings, gods, and supermen. Pullman’s heroes are explorers, cowboys, and physicists."

I also like Pullman's approach to literature: "Stories never fail us," said Pullman when he won the Carnegie Medal. '"In adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness. But stories are vital. There's more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy.

...The present-day would-be George Eliots take up their stories as if with a pair of tongs. They’re embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do."


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