Hugh Chandler, my former dissertation advisor at the University of Illinois at Urbana, sent me this interview with Philip Pullman concerning his "loathing" for C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. David Downing, my fellow IVP C. S. Lewis author, wrote the following "roaring" response:
Pullman obviously brings a lot of anti-Christian baggage to his reading ofLewis; I think he would have "loathed" the Chronicles, regardless of the characters or incidents he found there. Pullman is being willfully obtuse when he says THE LAST BATTLE is about Lewis killing off his main characters. The book explains in one sentence what happened to the children on Earth; it spends the last third of the narrative showing their lives in the eternal morning of the new Narnia, with Aslan and his faithful followers from all generations. THE LAST BATTLE is not about sad endings in this world (tho Lewis knew all about that from childhood), but about wonderful beginnings elsewhere. For a creative writer, Pullman shows are markably stunted imagination in his inability (unwillingness?) to envision the worldview of faith. In any case, I think the less said the better. Others have berated the Chronicles, getting more attention than they deserved with muddled & befuddled psycho-babble. But their effect on the popularity or critical reputation of the Chronicles have been no more than that of gnats trying to bring down a lion. Isay, "Let the heathen rage," and pay the Pullmans of the world no mind . . .
David C. Downing
Yeah, and I'll bet Pullman thinks C. S. Lewis went to his room after his exchange with Elizabeth Anscombe and spent three days in a fetal position planning the Chronicles of Narnia.
P. S. This is a redated post, which I have updated because The Golden Compass is in theaters.