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Tag: Philip Pullman

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of Knowledge

The Expulsion From Eden, by Thomas Cole. 1828
The Expulsion From Eden, by Thomas Cole. 1828

Philip Pullman’s usage of the myth of Adam and Eve had me revisiting the metaphors, symbols, and scenarios in that ancient garden. While there are many different interpretations of the myth, and a wide range of disagreements between Jewish and Christian exegesis, I thought Pullman was really onto something fundamentally important.

Contrary to much of the received wisdom about that story, Adam and Eve did the right thing. They sought knowledge. In effect, consciousness. Had they stayed in the garden, they would have remained unfree, ignorant, and stunted. The god of the story wanted them that way, apparently.… |To be Continued “The Tree of Knowledge”

Ancient of Days

Ancient of Days

Ancient of Days, by William Blake. 1794
Ancient of Days, by William Blake. 1794

After John Milton and his Paradise Lost, the second guiding spirit for much of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is William Blake. Its radical, subversive nature, its speaking truth to power, its combination of ancient wisdom and modern rebellion, are prefigured in the life and work of the great poet, painter and mystic. When we meet the Ancient of Days in the last novel of the series, Blake’s vision comes before us, though Pullman adds a few twists and surprises. We learn prior to his appearance that the Old Man, or the Authority, may not be the Creator.… |To be Continued “Ancient of Days”

Between Worlds

Between Worlds

I’m almost finished with Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials. Really enjoying it. But am sensing more separation between these stories and books written for adults. Moreso than with the first novel in the series, The Golden Compass. As I’ve moved on, that separation grows.

Can’t quite pinpoint it yet. But I think it mostly has to do with sex. There is a slight undercurrent throughout the trilogy, but it’s vague and subtle and mostly hidden. Hints occasionally seep up through the surface of the sentences. But there’s not much there there. A book for adults would obviously handle the subject in a different manner.… |To be Continued “Between Worlds”

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

I finished Philip Pullman’s wonderful The Golden Compass last night, and can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy. It’s very well written and surprisingly thought provoking. A page turner, to be sure. Also hoping that the sequels will be filmed, even though mixed messages abound about that. I’ve read on the Net that the next movie is in the bag for 2009, and, that it won’t be filmed at all. The two major reasons given for not filming are the lack of box office success for the first movie and opposition from church groups.

The novel is set in parallel universe to our own, with many similarities, but some striking differences.… |To be Continued “Northern Lights”

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass

Reading three books at once right now. Multi-tasking in a sense. But concentrating mostly on just one: Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Still reading Doctor Zhivago, and Zamyatin’s We, but am having a great time with Pullman’s book. Enjoyed the movie as well.

Outside of the Potter books, I’ve read no other kids’ books since I was a kid. This current reading is a serious departure for me. But I think I’ve discovered something very interesting in the process. Something about the way books are written in general, and for their respective audiences in particular.

Books for kids are more visual, descriptive, and are driven more by the visual and the descriptive.… |To be Continued “The Golden Compass”

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