Monday, May 29, 2006

Rome discusses Chesterton and Harry Potter

Stratford and Leonie Caldecott were there.


  1. The article says:
    "The talks centered on English literature and the legacies of great Catholic writers such as G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. "

    Um, Lewis was never a Catholic.

    Also, LOTR is NOT a trilogy, as the article said. But I was very gratified to see Leonie Caldedott's wise words regarding Harry Potter.

  2. It's hard to say too much until we know how the story ends:

    One of the ablest agnostics of the age once asked me whether I thought mankind grew better or grew worse or remained the same. He was confident that the alternative covered all possibilities. He did not see that it only covered patterns and not pictures; processes and not stories. I asked him whether he thought that Mr. Smith of Golder's Green got better or worse or remained exactly the same between the age of thirty and forty. It then seemed to dawn on him that it would rather depend on Mr. Smith; and how he chose to go on. It had never occurred to him that it might depend on how mankind chose to go on; and that its course was not a straight line or an upward or downward curve, but a track like that of a man across a valley, going where he liked and stopping where he chose, going into a church or falling drunk in a ditch. The life of man is a story; an adventure story; and in our vision the same is true even of the story of God.
    [GKC TEM CW2:377-8]

    But that is not the only relevant quote, and this one might be my own view on the matter:

    "Are you working?"
    "No, I was reading a detective story."
    "Oh. Is it - is it good?"
    "I don't know. It's reasonably well written. But I can't tell whether it's good until I've finished it."
    [The Dead Man's Knock by John Dickson Carr]

    Carr, of course, was very Chestertonian - just take a look at his Dr. Fell!

  3. Great quotes, Dr. Thursday! And yes, prudence requires that we withhold judgment. But considering the direction the first six books have taken, especially the last two, I'm rather inclined to give Mrs. Rowling the benefit of the doubt. :-)

  4. Maybe Dr. Thursday was referring to the remark about C.S. Lewis's faith, and not the Rowling....

    I say this because I happen to know Dr. T loves far...

  5. Wow. That was deep, Nancy - and indeed doctrinally accurate, as St. Joan of Arc pointed out when asked if she was in the state of grace.

    Yes, I do like Harry a lot (by the rules, they are detective stories, after all!)

    And I DO think (and struggle, yes I admit it) about Clive Staples Lewis, but that is a subject I expect to defer even longer than HP.

    Rather I prefer to meditate on the point that Baring revealed to GKC just after his conversion, something to the effect that whole convents of nuns were praying for GKC. I'd get the quote but it is not needed just now. What is needed is prayer.

    We MUST MUST MUST pray for each other, while our own story has not reached its end... God help me, I've made quite a real mess with His story. But:

    "We must be in a novel. What I like about this Author is He takes such care about His minor characters." (quoted from memory)


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