criticism gone awry

Tanaqui tweaver at imbolc.ucc.ie
Sat Aug 28 18:45:11 EDT 1999


+ > PPS.  I wish DWJ would e-mail this list and answer all these 
+ > questions!
 
+ No!  That would take all the fun out of it!  How could we have meaningful
+ debates on the hidden and subtle meanings in the books if DWJ was to tell us
+ how it was every time?  We'd lose all the fun of putting forward our pet
+ theories!

I don't think Diana's books could be explained in one terse "This is how it
is" sentence. I have already chatted to Philip Berber off-list on how we
regard the _Guide to Dalemark_ (I'd rather have a novel, for its suggestive
depth, and a creative texture more Tanaqui than Elthorar).

Nah, she always opens up different directions. That's why _Crown of Dalemark_
goes in such odd directions, I think: too many people had suggested possible
outcomes. She could perhaps clue you in to the "saucepan song" or what Libby
Beer's use-name is (I suspect some sort of variant on "Hildrida", possibly
starting with K), and that would add more fun to the book for those already
hooked. She could correct mad errors in supposition. 

The _Annotations_ to Neil Gaiman's _Sandman_ comic are a good parallel: it's
unlikely any one person would get all the sources/references/allusions, and
the notes people made - with Neil's occasional comments - do not spoil the
work one bit. 

Diana has so much background to the worlds she writes that it's fascinating
to catch glimpses of the textures in her head. _The Guide to Dalemark_ is
what we have as an attempt to write up that background. It is not a Great
Work (but then the novel isn't one of my favourites) - but there are delicious
glimpses amongst the stuff one already knows. And apparent contradictions for
the scholarly, emphasising that it's the creative unity of the novels which
is her strength. Her sister's lit crit is quite heavy going. 

Tanaqui  

If the eye shed no tears, the heart could have no rainbows 
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