Thursday, June 25, 2009


To rate the great books of the past by an author's darker prejudices and then reject the book out of hand and not learn the great and engrossing themes thereby is in itself a form of "bigotry in literary or idea assessment of the work, Each author has a darker side albeit in agreement with our own or no.The work stands ipso facto on its own merits, not on our own moral assessments and we can learn the Weltanschauung of the age and author that gave that work birth and sustenance.

"The honest, educated reader, when tackling the towering literary works of
the past, now faces a different, though no less precarious task: how to
acknowledge an author's darker side without losing the ability to enjoy and
value the book. Prejudice is repellent, but if we were to purge our shelves of
all the great books tainted by one vile idea or another, we'd have nothing left
to read - or at least nothing but the new and blandly virtuous....In recent
years, it's gotten easier to write off complaints about how an author portrays
race, class, or gender as "political correctness", but that's just as facile as
reducing every author to the sum of his political beliefs; hatred and injustice
are wrong, not merely "incorrect"...But perhaps ethics are not all that counts,
or even what really counts, when it comes to reading stories. I have hated some
morally impeccable novels, and liked some reprehensible ones. I'm not convinced
that either kind has altered the moral underpinnings of my own life...Perhaps I
did not so much learn from these books as recognize my better self in them."In
any case, I'm still finding the book extremely interesting. I'm enjoying
learning more about the life of C.S. Lewis, and the work that went into writing
these beloved novels. And I don't feel betrayed or deceived by the darker side
of Narnia, or its author - I don't expect writers to be perfect people, even if
they write from a Christian viewpoint. I just want them to write great

The middle section of this book - called Trouble in Paradise - deals with the author's initial discovery that Lewis' books have a strong Christian allegorical element, and her subsequent anger and disillusionment. She had decided that the Catholic church was not for her at a young age, and saw the Narnia books as a deception, trying to indoctrinate her into a belief system she had already rejected. She felt tricked and cheated. This might seem like an overreaction, but she was about 13 at the time, and overreacting is, after all, probably what 13-year-olds do best.

Posted by Elizabeth


THE MAGICIAN'S BOOK is the story of one reader's long, tumultuous relationship with C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Enchanted by its fantastic world as a child, prominent critic Laura Miller returns to the series as an adult to uncover the source of these small books' mysterious power by looking at their creator, Clive Staples Lewis. What she discovers is not the familiar, idealized image of the author, but a more interesting and ambiguous truth: Lewis's tragic and troubled childhood, his unconventional love life, and his intense but ultimately doomed friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien.

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