Religion and fantasy

Fiona Haggart F.Haggart at
Tue Jul 24 17:34:47 EDT 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: Rebecca Ganetzky <jlynn_cmc_edu at>
To: <dwj at>
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 9:28 PM
Subject: Re: Religion and fantasy

> Ros:
> >Yes, I usually react the same way. I adore the Narnian books and Zenna
> >Henderson's "People" books, but am still uneasy with the preaching
> >in them. I think these work because the story and the characters are
> >strong,
> >and because the religious elements have such a strong archetypal power,
> >I still don't like the fact that I am being preached at (please note that
> >absolutely *love* these books).
> It depends on the book.  I'm quite fond of some preachy books, (although
> specifics escape me at the moment, but I'm quite sure it's true.)  But
> others (particularly if the book was mediocre to begin with) are too much,
> and I would rather discard the book.  As I said before, it's farily
> books that are blantantly preachy (Narnia) are sometimes less upsetting
> books where the whole undercurrent of the books is trying to convert
> readers, without any overt religion...of which I cannot think of an
> Rebecca

I have to say that I still find it extraordinary that the Narnia books are
described as preachy when, to me, they are simply of their time: written by
a Christian writer about children from a country dominated by the Christian
faith and aimed an  audience largely made up of the same. I honestly cannot
see that a book is preachy when it simply reflects the current theological
majority of its country of origin and target audience, for which it's
Christian slant would have huge resonance. Naturally if the Narnia books
were written today it would be different as the UK (for whom the book was
originally published) is no longer dominated to the same degree by
Christianity (nor any religion for that matter) and it's no longer
considered PC to over emphasise one religion over any other . Also I think
it is wrong to impose modern ideals on books published in the past - you
might as well condemn the old Empire Atlases, with their huge bias towards
the British Empire, or discount Dickens and Austen for their male bias and
lack of ethnic characters, rather than accepting them for the historical
relic that they are and enjoying the story


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