Sunday, April 10, 2005


Greg asked of my post on Outland "Why Orientalism?"

Sorry to be so slow responding, I tried to post before but the site just wasn't having it.

I'm working on another book on rhetorics of fantasy. In that, while looking at the quest fantasy, I was struck by how much the worlds that were built were there for the sole purpose of journeying through--Diana Wynne Jones also talks about this. If you look at Edward Said's famous Orientalism the qualities he pinpoints are "unchangingness", "thinness" (ie the world feels like a stage set) and the sense that nothing happens when the protagonists aren't there (Roderick Townley's masterpiece, The Great Good Thing proceeds from this conceit). In these tales, the story "belongs" to the protagonist, even if it is one which is about the salvation of the fantasy world. So that in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the all of the later books, real adventures of a world changing nature can only happen when one of us is there to make it happen.

Lassiter manages to escape all of this. This is a real world and the story belongs to the world, not to the protagonists. This is made clearest at the end when an indigenous character sacrifices a nice world-farer for the sake of long term politics.

[Book blog tomorrow, I promise. I've just spent an entire weekend in meetings.]


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