September 7th, 2020

spare me

Amazon just offered me a new edition of Alan Garner's The Owl Service. I've heard about Garner for decades, but never read anything by him; and a glance at this book made it look somewhat interesting.

But it also had an introduction by Philip Pullman. And as is too common with Pullman, this was partly about his distaste for Tolkien and how much better he though the current work of fantasy was than The Lord of the Rings.

I'm really weary of Pullman's comments about Tolkien. At least "Oo, Those Awful Orcs!" was an actual review of The Lord of the Rings; however much I disagree with Edmund Wilson's opinions, it was in order for him to present them there. But Pullman can't seem to leave Tolkien alone. It's hard not to take his comments as obsessive and as an expression of what Nietzsche called ressentiment: the desire to tear down an achievement or a character that one cannot match. He can't just say, as Ayn Rand had Howard Roark say to Ellsworth Toohey, "But I don't think of you."

This is a real disincentive to buying this book, or at least this edition. If I take a look at Alan Garner—whom I am curious about—I think I'll find an older edition, or a different book of his.