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Dark Matter: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman's Trilogy His Dark Materials

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Dark Matter: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman's Trilogy His Dark Materials Cover

ISBN13: 9780830833795
ISBN10: 083083379x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

My books are about killing God.So declares Philip Pullman, the award-winning author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy of fantasy novels: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Appealing to millions of children and adults alike, Pullman's books create a universe in which the church is the enemy and God is the master villain.Cultural analyst Tony Watkins offers an even-handed and appreciative critique of Philip Pullman's books, exploring their religious and scientific underpinnings and highlighting their cultural and spiritual significance. Interacting deeply with Pullman's published writings and providing exclusive interview material, Watkins sheds light and insight on the worldview of one of today's most influential fantasy novelists.Whether you are a long-time devotee or are discovering Pullman for the first time, Dark Matter is enlightening reading for fans, educators and parents alike.

Review:

"Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, a sweeping retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost and The Fall, has caused great controversy among Christian readers. Watkins, a self-proclaimed Christian and managing editor for Damaris's Culture Watch Web site, offers a perspective on Pullman's work that is anything but dark and is sure to enlighten the debate among Christians. Watkins explains that while his intention is to provide readers the opportunity to appreciate Pullman in general, he also believes fervently that 'it's helpful for all fans of Pullman's work — Christian or otherwise — to understand a Christian perspective on it.' The book is divided into three parts, the first a walk through Pullman's life and background and the second an overview of the major dimensions of each book in the trilogy. It is not until the third section that readers will find what they are really looking for: a critical evaluation of major themes and story dimensions such as dmons, sin and the infamous 'death of God' — an assessment that is smart and wisely restrained. Watkins's critical appreciation of Pullman's trilogy will surely appeal to a Christian audience, but will reach well beyond this market to a general readership looking for a solid, substantially sourced, and well-written analysis of this beloved work of literature." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A cultural analyst offers an evenhanded and appreciative critique of Philip Pullman's books, exploring their religious and scientific underpinnings and highlighting their cultural and spiritual significance.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

EmilyMB, September 30, 2011 (view all comments by EmilyMB)
Watkins gives a brief biography of Pullman and summarizes his works before the HDM trilogy, which serves as background material for his analysis of the major themes of HDM. This section is pretty straightforward. The book gets meatier when he analyzes HDM itself, investigating themes such as truth, innocence and experience, growing up, authority, and the natures of God and consciousness as portrayed in the books. There's also an interesting sidebar about the demons in HDM where Watkins goes through the process most readers have of trying to figure out exactly what Pullman's demons are; I found his comparison of HDM's tripartite human (body/demon/ghost) to the Holy Trinity especially fascinating.

One problem, though: Watkins chides Pullman for misrepresenting the Church and various Christian doctrines (implying more that Pullman hasn't learned enough about them to understand properly rather than that he's deliberately lying). Yet he blithely asserts that a material universe without a higher power can only be deterministic, with no possibility of free will, and that morality can only come from a wholly good God. This ignores the many, many works in which atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers have argued the contrary. If Watkins is aware of these, he ought to have mentioned them even if only to dismiss them. It seems he may also be guilty of misrepresentation.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780830833795
Publisher:
InterVarsity Press
Subject:
History and criticism
Author:
Watkins, Tony
Subject:
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Subject:
Young adult fiction, English
Subject:
Children's Literature - General
Subject:
Pullman, Philip - C
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
20060331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
221
Dimensions:
8.12x6.64x.64 in. .63 lbs.

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Dark Matter: Shedding Light on Philip Pullman's Trilogy His Dark Materials
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Product details 221 pages InterVarsity Press - English 9780830833795 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, a sweeping retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost and The Fall, has caused great controversy among Christian readers. Watkins, a self-proclaimed Christian and managing editor for Damaris's Culture Watch Web site, offers a perspective on Pullman's work that is anything but dark and is sure to enlighten the debate among Christians. Watkins explains that while his intention is to provide readers the opportunity to appreciate Pullman in general, he also believes fervently that 'it's helpful for all fans of Pullman's work — Christian or otherwise — to understand a Christian perspective on it.' The book is divided into three parts, the first a walk through Pullman's life and background and the second an overview of the major dimensions of each book in the trilogy. It is not until the third section that readers will find what they are really looking for: a critical evaluation of major themes and story dimensions such as dmons, sin and the infamous 'death of God' — an assessment that is smart and wisely restrained. Watkins's critical appreciation of Pullman's trilogy will surely appeal to a Christian audience, but will reach well beyond this market to a general readership looking for a solid, substantially sourced, and well-written analysis of this beloved work of literature." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A cultural analyst offers an evenhanded and appreciative critique of Philip Pullman's books, exploring their religious and scientific underpinnings and highlighting their cultural and spiritual significance.
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