[DWJ] Incoherent Notes on THB and Shelley

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Oct 1 15:10:27 EDT 2014

On Wed, 1 Oct 2014, Catherine Butler wrote:

>       Coming from a writer whose project is one
>       of liberation from ideological repression this is a highly restricted vision of the human potential for growth and
>       self-determination. There are other indications, too, that Pullman’s rebellion is not as wholesale as might first appear. In
>       particular, the conclusion of his story is still in thrall to a moral and aesthetic vision that defines satisfying artistic
>       closure in terms of self-sacrifice and self-denial – exemplified in the deaths of Lyra’s parents and in Lyra’s and Will’s
>       decision to part for ever.

Yes, this, exactly. Lyra and Will's parting is in many ways very
evocative of the death-by-train of The Last Battle. Saving the
world through either the big or little death, followed by
permanent separation. (although now I come back to Jamie and
Homeward Bounders again!)

> You anticipated the point about sacrifice, of course. If I can put on my pop-psychological pork-pie hat for a moment, it's tempting to see
> in PP's anger against CSL the disquiet of a child scared of growing up to resemble his parent. It's a story as old as Oedipus - or Harold
> Bloom.

I try not to psychoanalyze authors through their books, but
Philip Pullman and Stephenie Meyer are the two  authors whose
bodies of work do kind of beg for it.


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