Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth: Tales of Pullman, Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald and Hoffmann

Bill Gray (1971, Modern Languages)

 Tales of Pullman, Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald and Hoffmann by William Gray Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth offers a detailed examination and discussion of the highly contested tradition of epic or high fantasy culminating in Pullman's His Dark Materials. This trajectory of mythopoeia or myth-making has its roots in the quest by a range of Romantic writers to transpose certain spiritual and moral values, once believed to be the prerogative of organized religion, into new myths. Critical of myths that are merely escapist fantasies, this study is also suspicious of totalizing 'grand narratives' that repress dissenting voices. The study nevertheless argues that, at its best, this mythopoeic tradition, which includes E.T.A. Hoffmann, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip Pullman and - debatably - J.K. Rowling, can show the power of the creative imagination to generate, through stories that are imaginatively true, a renewed spiritual and moral vision.

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