Monday, 22 June 2015

Opposite morality

I do not hold that novels are factual or have to be. If they were, they would not quite be novels. They might be biographies close to novels or they might be monographies close to novels. Or they might be "novel versions" of reality. But to be a novel, a tale does not have to be factual. I do however hold that the connexion to real life should hold in the morality of a novel. A novel hero may exhibit traits which the author does not share, but he should not be admired for things that the author would in real life despise.

Hence the question of morality of any given novel - or shorter story.

Here is a correspondence between me and a writer on that topic. I considered that one tale of his had made bad morality. And that the bad morality was the exact inverse of the good morality of Clive Staples Lewis in The Silver Chair.

Me to Dominic de Souza
On Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 7:11 AM
[Dominic de Souza] Silver Bound Serpent
Do I sense a reversal of moral as compared to the Silver Chair, here:

Dominic de Souza to me
18/06/15 à 15h52
Re: [Dominic de Souza] Silver Bound Serpent
Hi Georg, can you please clarify?

Thanks, and have a great day,

Dominic de Souza
Arboriad Design
Your Visual Design Consultant

Me to Dominic de Souza
On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 5:41 AM
Re: [Dominic de Souza] Silver Bound Serpent
In Silver Chair, a human figure was chained, and given the benefit of the doubt and freed - and killed a real serpent (which had not been chained).

In your story, a human figure is killed on blind faith it is a serpent. Even if it is, the killer ought to have had some proof before going on with the killing.

This is of course irrespective of the allegorical meaning of the serpent - but if it was meant as allegory, there should be some indication that what was meant by the thing to be killed was an interior thought ("blessed is he who dashes thy small ones their heads against the wall, oh Babylon" in usual Christian exegesis referring to refusal of first initial temptations to any sin), since as it stands, as an adventure story, it gives too much room for mistreating obviously human looking creatures on blind faith.

That is what I meant./HGL

Dominic de Souza to me
19/06/15 à 12h06
Re: [Dominic de Souza] Silver Bound Serpent
In the Silver Chair, the human figure was never identified as the serpent, and was possessed by it. When freed, he destroyed both the chair and the serpent to free himself from further evil. In the context of my story, the difference is that all know that an incarnation of evil is chained up, capable of mutating form. As an allegory for rooting out evil regardless its face. Obviously we are dealing less with physical evil and more metaphysical.

Still not sure I understand your point. Have a great day.

Thanks, and have a great day,

Dominic de Souza

Me to Dominic de Souza
19/06/15 à 13h16
Re: [Dominic de Souza] Silver Bound Serpent
Same to you, but we have a little problem with epistemology:

"all know that an incarnation of evil is chained up, capable of mutating form."

How does "government says" become "all know"?

In the Silver Chair, Rilian says himself (while enchanted and before going to be chained up) that if HE were to be freed, while "the fit" lasts, he would, lamentably, turn into a serpent.

Rilian gave Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum lots more reason to suspect his request for liberation than the hero of your story had./HGL

Yes, when I said that morality has to be the same in a novel as in real life, I do include epistemology. And in my book, relying on particular information on particular persons (or monsters) because "everyone knows" is not quite good epistemology.

That is why I recommend a rereading of:

The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 6)
Paperback – 1 Oct 2009 (or earlier versions)
by C. S. Lewis (Author)

rather than reading, unprepared, The Silver Bound Serpent which I linked to above.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
St Paulinus of Nola

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