Three Things (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

1. I hesitate to mention this, given a couple of odd threads that popped up, as it were, on my last post. But if they hadn’t, I would have mentioned this anyway, so I do so. If you follow me see my point catch my drift comprehend my gist–never mind; after a certain point everything looks Freudian.

Yesterday, apparently even as I was dreaming about bowling, according to Language Log, Blondie was talking about bowling with Dagwood. I note that the great Blishing in the Zeitgeist has been followed by a great bowling. Hm: Blish – Blondie – bowling… Is some alphabetical order being followed? Here’s hoping the Zeitgeist hits EN in late April.

2. Now up: the preview page for Black Gate 13 (Sometimes a Black Gate is just a black gate, by the way.) It looks like a great issue, with a new story by Peadar Ó Guilín and what I think will be John Hocking’s debut for the magazine.

3. At the Blog Gate, Judith Berman tackles non-western archetypes in myth, with a few well-deserved swipes at Joseph Campbell and others.

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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5 Responses to Three Things (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

  1. sboydtaylor says:

    Re: The Joseph Campbell thread…

    There are problems with every theory, and I’ve often felt that there is a strong tendency among mythographers of the 1970’s and 80’s to strip away the unique elements of a myth in order to easily categorize it (in exemplum, see “Tales Alive in Turkey”, books 1 and 2. They are faithfully recorded and translated resulting in some truly alien myths — but in the brief theory sections, the authors lump them into some truly generic categories.)

    That said, the audience I am writing for is a western audience and the culture I come from is a western culture. Even though I might understand and appreciate an alien-feeling myth, I doubt strongly I could sell it to a magazine. The reader’s mind must be stretched first, and I’ve always felt that Jung and Campbell provide useful thoughts/techniques (you could say “lenses”) for stretching the minds of readers wide enough to swallow something new.

    I’ve never been able to read Campbell without falling alseep, but his PBS interview series with Bill Moyers called “The Power of Myth” is extremely entertaining. Even if it’s not an accurate way of looking at the mythic underpinnings of society, it is an alternate and fascinating way of looking at them.

    • JE says:

      I think that, for imaginative literature, it’s best to cast one’s net wide, so if Campbell & Jung (or even Freud, God help us) are of some use, I say use them. It’s all grist for the mill.

      But I think the problem with them as scholarship is not that they require an open mind, but they tend to promote a closed one–only certain things will count as important. I was just rereading the strange passage where Campbell compares Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven” with Ovid’s version of Daphne and Apollo, and when he gets to the point where Daphne changes into a tree, JC sniffs “This is indeed a dull and unrewarding finish.” Umm…

      First, I’m inclined to think Ovid knew more about this myth in particular and storytelling in general than Campbell and Jung wired together. Second, it’s neither the end nor the point of the story; JC misrepresents the text by selecting from it. This is the part that resembles a Jungian case-study, so he yanks it out of its context.

      But, like I say, scholarship functions differently from fiction, and if some theme or theory fuels the imagination, how it treats cultural evidence isn’t so important.

  2. peadarog says:

    ooh, a preview. Thanks for the hedzupp.

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