Britocentric fantasy

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 13 07:41:33 EDT 2004


--- Charles Butler
<hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk> wrote:
> Okay, here's a topic I've been thinking about
> recently. I was reading a
> couple of academic articles (both I think by
> Americans) on Susan Cooper, and
> both criticise the Dark is Rising sequence as
> colonial/imperialist texts
> because they make it clear that all the important
> stuff involved in the
> saving of the world goes on in Britain, and that the
> rest of the world (the
> worldwide circle of the Old Ones) are involved, if
> at all, only in a
> subsidiary way, passing on messages like 'Tell Will
> Stanton that the Old
> Ones of the South are ready,' etc.
> 
> Okay - as it happens I largely disagree with this
> line, but what's almost
> more interesting to me is why the same criticism
> *hasn't* been levelled at
> other British fantasists whose British hero(in)es
> also save the world (and
> often more than one): Pullman, for example, and
> maybe even Rowling (has HP
> saved the world yet? Does he look likely to?). And -
> obDWJ - it is quite
> clear that Chrestomanci, the most powerful magician
> in the world, who seems
> to have a multiverse-wide brief to police magic, is
> also an employee of the
> British Government first and foremost - in fact he
> plain says so in
> Magicians of Caprona. And Britain (or
> Britain-analogues) are at the centre
> of world-saving in several other books too, such as
> Hexwood, Merlin
> Conspiracy, Sudden Wild Magic, and so on. Yet no
> one, to my knowledge, has
> accused DWJ of having imperialist tendencies in the
> way they have Cooper.
> Isn't that odd?
> 
> How does this look from outside Britain, I
> particularly wonder?

Australians of my generation were brought up thinking
that saving the world was what God had created the
British for, so such fantasies seemed only Right and
Proper.

Jon


	
		
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