[Marxism] Narnia

wrobert at uci.edu wrobert at uci.edu
Tue Jan 31 20:34:35 MST 2006

Despite the
>   difference over their respective literary products, both Tolkien and
> Lewis shared
>   an attachment to Nordic myths -- which raises an interesting question
> for
>   we Marxists, i.e. how could such seemingly disparate types of myths,
>   Christian and pagan Nordic, be so attractive to the same person? Part of
> the
>   answer of course is their common roots in feudal and prefeudal
> civilizations [sic].

I think think that the fascination with 'Nordic roots' also might tie into
a racial politic.  I can't comment on the Lewis as much (I reread Lion,
Witch, Wardrobe and found it genuinely dull... so I can't comment on the
series beyond its initial offering), but I can say that the world that
Tolkien constructs is based on an East/West binary in which those of the
East are inprecise copies or perhaps even parodies of the subjects of the
West and that the East constitutes a threat in the form of a mindless
horde against the West. I think that at some point someone should do a
reading of Tolkien in relation to the politics of representation around
colonialism.  If done right, it would be a genuinely interesting read. 
The other thing that might be noted that the orcs and other creatures of
the East, speak in a working class dialect, bringing an interesting
connection between representations of the working classes of the metropole
and the colonized.  It should be noted that white supremecist groups
frequently have the same interests in nordicness.

As for Pullman, I strongly agree.  Ironically, I am now taking a class on
Milton to look at some of the texts that Pullman draw on to produce the
books (the others being Kleist and Blake).  It is interesting how relevent
a critique of theological power is to contemporary society.....

                   robert wood

More information about the Marxism mailing list