Faction, or Why We Should Be Literary Critics

A friend of mine told me about a church that did a series of sermons following The Da Vinci Code. They invented words for each sermon, and one, faction, was fact and fiction together. I steal it heartily and gleefully.

About Pullman’s His Dark Materials: Inevitably, some will say, ‘Why critique the novels at all? They are novels, after all.” Fine. I agree with you. But there is a fundamental truth (that was also true of DVC) that we mustn’t miss. Pullman is writing not just as a novelist but as a philosopher/theologian. From his Web site: “I was using the fantastical elements to say something that I thought was true about us and about our lives.” He says in the same page that all gods are invisible because they don’t exist. And if they do, they’re hiding away, ashamed of their followers.

We must, therefore, critique HDM both as novels and as philosophical/theological statements. And that’s what I plan to do.


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