Sheila's Reviews > His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
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's review
Feb 03, 08

Recommended to Sheila by: movie
Recommended for: everyone
Read in December, 2007

"Each Man is in His Spectres power
Untill the arrival of that hour
When his Humanity awake
And Cast his own Spectre into the Lake

And there to Eternity apire
The selfhood in a flame of fire
Till then the Lamb of God"

Later in Jerusalem he revisits the 'Spectre':

"The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated
From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio
Of the Things of Memory, It thence frames Law s & Moralities
To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdom and Wars"

Pullman acknowledges Blakes influence in this piece of work..
I found that reading some of the poems Pullman quotes at the beginning of each chapter helped to clarify what he was writing about..things such as dust, daemons, specters, etc.

As I Googled the Wm. Blake quotes at the beginning of most of the chapters of each of the 3 books..I realized that Pullman was writing a "childrens" book about the subjects Blake expounded on in his poems..particularly the poems regarding innocence and experience. I am an avid reader and chafe at parts of stories not well written. Subjects not fleshed out. Disappointing endings, etc. But I must say, Pullman made many of Blakes ideas much clearer to me..and going back and reading his (Blakes) poems after reading these books..I instantly understood what Lyra represented..what dust is..etc. A charming way to get lessons of religion, romanticism, and life. A little science fiction thrown in for good measure. I loved the experience. I did frequently wonder about the intended audience..but then I read everything as a child..and understood it on that level..going back and reading the same stories as an adult, I understand on a different level, but that doesn't mean a child "won't get it".

Also, I've read several references here to Pullman's siding with "fallen angels" and evil, against God. I didn't see it that way. There were several references to an angel or being that "God the original creator" gave a caretaking role to, who presented himself as God and who had started making rules and demands and therefore life itself not what god had intended. Now, why God the original creator didn't strike him (the usurper) down himself, but lead Lyra and the others to bring him down..I don't know..but I didn't see Pullman preaching against God or Good, but against organized religion and judgements of good and evil.


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