Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy is one of the very few works of fantasy I’ve read as an adult that moved and excited me the way I was moved and excited by the fantasies (Tolkien et al.) I read as a kid. I’m not sure whether I’d have loved it the same way had I first read it as a kid. I’ll never know, of course.
In any case, Pullman’s New York Times op-ed essay today is a marvelous meditation on the way the rational mind and the imagination coexist. How can a man spend much of his career creating fantasy tales when he doesn’t believe in ghosts and disembodied spirits? Here’s a taste of Pullman’s answer:
|The rational, daylight, functional, get-about-and-do-things part of my mind welcomes the broom of reason as it sweeps away the cobwebs of spookery. But I don’t write with that part of my mind, and the part that does the writing doesn’t like the place cleaned up and freshly painted and brightly lit.|