charles.hannibal at gmail.com
Fri Dec 29 07:58:05 EST 2006
On preachiness - that word's pejorative more or less by definition, isn't
it? Preachy books are I think what DWJ and her younger sisters used to call
'goddy' books. Not to be confused with a book's having some kind of moral
content or attitude - which applies to pretty much every book I can think
of. Keats complained about poems that have 'palpable designs upon us'
(quote inexact!), and it's that sense of being 'got at', and in a rather
manipulative way, that grates.
I find *The Amber Spyglass" preachy, and more objectionably so because it
seems to disavow the preachiness it's practicising. Whereas *The Pilgrim's
Progress*, for all its overt preaching, wears its heart on its sleeve and
seems to escape the preachiness charge.
But then, what about a book like, say, *To Kill a Mockingbird*? Plenty of
messages there - and I suppose one could say it manipulates its readers by
making Atticus Finch *such* an admirable character that one wants to believe
everything he says on any subject under the sun. But I didn't find it
preachy when I read it (a good 30 years ago, now) - on the contrary, I loved
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