Thursday, November 17, 2005

David Downing on the C. S. Lewis nonsense machine

I sent a letter to fellow Lewis scholar David Downing warning him (as if he didn't already know) that the C. S. Lewis nonsense machine is about to kick into high gear.

You're saying it hasn't kicked in already? I don't know which creates more weariness of the spirit--the relentless marketing of the movie (+ games, toys, Narnia McNuggets or whatever) or the jaded reviews by the critics.
Did you see the sardonic piece in the NYT by Charles McGrath? He drags out A. N. Wilson, Philip Pullman, all the usual suspects. Lewis wrote 60 years ago about "the habitual baseless arrogance of critics." It is clear things have only gotten worse since then. The film is not due out for another month, and I think I'm already coming down with a case of "Chronicles Fatigue Syndrome."
But I believe it will all be worth it if the current mania turns people's attention to the Narnia books, and then on to the rest of the Lewis canon. If even Balaam's ass could find his appointed place in the work of the Kingdom, then I'm sure Hollywood moguls and movie trinketeers might just find have their own part to play in a scenario much grander than any they could have imagined for the silver screen . . .

This is a link to Downing's book Into the Wardrobe.

1 comment:

Jason Pratt said...

Well, Pullman will get his turn to be slagged by a different batch of critics, when his Dark Materials trilogy (now in preproduction) begins hitting the screen. 'twill very probably generate a small cottage industry of counter-analysis books, too (moreso than we'll see vs. Lewis). That's how it goes.

For what it's worth, the culture geeks over at AICN who've seen footage (and one already who's seen the finished film) are quite happy with it. (And also quite mostly non or even anti-Christian. 'course, they have their mere flamers, too... {shrug} But on average the response is very good.)