Friday, December 09, 2005

Lewis; Milton; Disney

It's not often that anyone sees those three names in combination, but I have three short items to share today.

I finished reading C S Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet last night, and I'm sorry to say that I found it a tedious and didactic book. I certainly won't be reading the other two books in the trilogy. Lewis seemed to flag up the action rather a lot - even if I hadn't already known in advance of reading the book that Ransom was kidnapped by Weston and Devine, I'd have known as soon as Ransom was taken into their house because Lewis was waving warning flags. Ransom was a fairly likeable character I suppose, but a bit vulgar - I hope Tolkien wasn't too insulted by him (Lewis, apparently based Ransom on Tolkien).

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Of rather more interest is the fact that it's the birthday of the great English poet John Milton, who was born in London in 1608. He's probably best known for his epic poem, Paradise Lost (1667), but he spent twenty years of his life writing almost nothing but essays on political and religious topics. Milton was one of the early crusaders against the English government's censorship of books and pamphlets. He argued that no one group should control the number of available opinions from which an individual can choose, and he wrote, "Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself." It seems to me that these are wise words and worth remembering.

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Finally, and depressingly, the BBC reports that after 80 years in the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh is to get a female friend, who will replace Christopher Robin. Apparently Disney has decided to pair Pooh up with a red-haired six-year-old tomboy for its 2007 series. This has caused no small amount of horror all round, and Neil Gaiman's reponse is typically satirical.


Kelly said...

I've read about this and it is shameful! I adore Christopher Robin and, indeed, planned to name a son Christopher Robin when I was a child. (Then I had a yucky boyfriend named Christopher and, well, the name was out.)

What the heck is wrong with Christopher Robin?

Michele said...

Apparently Christopher Robin is not active or modern enough... !