Oct 09

why philip pullman is a bit of a nincompoop on this one: a diagram

FT/8 comments • 1,137 views

typical_narniansLWW: lucy and susan get to ride on a lion’s back
PC: omg lucy and susan get to WINE-CRAZED ROMP with BACCHUS dude. Actual real quote: “Two of the Maenads… helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes she was wearing” YES I’LL BET THEY DID!
VDT: er ok pass, though lucy does get sold into slavery briefly, plus cuddles reepicheep at the world’s end plus er er seamen, yes PP can have this one…
SC: jill gets blown by a lion and rides on the back of a giant owl and a CENTAUR
MN: polly gets to ride on the back of a flying horse
HahB: aravis gets to ride a talking horse
LB: oh noes susan prefers teh lipstickz to RIDING ON LIONS AND AN ETERNITY WITH PRIAPIC GOATMEN

c.s.lewis had a fear of female sexuality: I’m sorry the more telling psychological evidence says otherwise…

<--- The Old Narnians, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)


  1. 1
    lonepilgrim on 20 Oct 2009 #

    Too right. Philip Pullman seems to equate wearing lipstick as some essential quality of womanhood/sexuality that made C.S. Lewis TREMBEL. It always bothered me that in PPs trilogy he seemed to have it in for the polar bear who wants to be more human rather than embrace his essential bearness.

    And while we’re on the subject of fantastic animals I’d like to put in a vote for J.P. Martin’s Uncle. Viva Beaver Hateman.

  2. 2

    i might as well note that i really REALLY like p.pullman’s trilogy, even if part three is clearly very hurried and quite flawed — i just find his oedipal rubbishing of c.s.lewis a bit hopeless

    i *have* to reread the uncle books

  3. 3
    Alan on 21 Oct 2009 #

    NARNIA: oh noes susan prefers teh lipstickz to RIDING ON LIONS
    TOY STORY: oh noes emily* prefers teh lipstickz to PLAYING WITH WOODEN COWGIRL DOLL

    jebus in your heart : riding on lions :: playing with dolls : fun while it lasts

    = toy story (2) is the more devastating anti-xtian polemic MR PULLMAN (if that is your name)

    * yes i looked up her name, wot of it

  4. 4

    haha i am planning a pro-last battle polemic shortly also, alang:

    i think two obvious c.s.lewis prejudices that DO shape narniana are
    A: crafted work is better than stuff made in factories (so the actual worst villain, susan-wise, is NYLONS — he talks a lot about how lovely and comfy and sensible narnian clothing is) (see above in fact)
    B: children are better than adults

    both attitudes are very common to his era; neither are intrinsically christian; were certainly held by lots of neo-pagan arts&crafties

  5. 5
    Andrew F on 21 Oct 2009 #

    I don’t think that top right Maenad’s going to have any luck with that cab…

  6. 6
    Tom on 4 Dec 2017 #

    Interestingly the new Pullman gets into a bit of fairy/nymph/river god action itself and the Real Fans (on the PP Reddit) are v unhappy at this as it disrupts the “basis in science” his trilogy about talking animals and tiny wasp dudes previously had.

  7. 7

    i guess this post (by me, 8 yrs ago) does indicate why he’s having reddit trouble of this shape (not that i’ve checked up on the shape at all)

    being vocally anti-CSL was excellent brand positioning early on, but it wasn’t a sound basis for where he was actually coming from as a writer, given his evidently much-more-ambiguous relationship with his precursor (anxiety-of-influence 101 of course)

  8. 8
    Tom on 5 Dec 2017 #

    CSL likes the idea of religion but wants to preserve magic and folklore and the uncanny. PP dislikes the idea of religion but also wants to preserve magic and folklore and the uncanny. It’s interesting that Lewis has never got much flak for this except from the hardest-line of fundies, whereas there’s a chunk of Pullman’s fanbase (only a chunk – the book’s been well-received in general) which seems hostile to it. I guess because Pullman fans include a lot of people who take great pleasure in talking about “magical sky fairies” so when PP puts an actual magical sky fairy into his book they get uncomfortable.

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