Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review

By Croft, Janet Brenan | Mythlore, Fall-Winter 2013 | Go to article overview

Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review


Croft, Janet Brenan, Mythlore


SEVEN: AN ANGLO-AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW. Ed. Marjorie Lamp Mead. Volume 29, 2012. $16.50. ISSN 0271-3012.

SUPERNATURAL STUDIES: OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE SUPERNATURAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION. Ed. Margo Collins and Deborah Christie. 1:1, Summer 2013. Free with membership or $10.00 per issue. ISSN 2325-4866.

FASTITOCALON: STUDIES IN FANTASTICISM ANCIENT TO MODERN. Ed. Thomas Honegger and Fanfan Chen. 3.1/2: 2013. 20,00 [euro]. ISSN 1869-960X.

WORMWOOD: LITERATURE OF THE FANTASTIC, SUPERNATURAL, AND DECADENT. Edited by Mark Valentine. Whole number 20: Spring 2013. 9.99 [pounds sterling]. ISSN 1744-2834.

THE 2012 ISSUE OF SEVEN IS A PARTICULARLY GOOD ONE, with several important articles. The lead essay, by Ben Murname, draws comparisons between Stephen E. Ambrose's classic World War II history Band of Brothers and The Lord of the Rings, noting their "classic war narrative plot structure" (12) of initiation and training, trial by fire, and return, their depictions of male companionship in time of war, and even their titles.

Mythlore board member and Mythcon 35 Scholar Guest of Honor Charles A. Huttar, in "Let Grill be Grill: The Metamorphoses of Rabadash and Others," shows how C.S. Lewis's deep knowledge of classical sources is particularly evident in his handling of the theme of metamorphosis. Huttar investigates three incidents in particular: Rabadash's transformation into a donkey and back in The Horse and His Boy; Eustace's period as a dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and the transformation of the unruly schoolboys into pigs in Prince Caspian. Each is examined in light of both its classical roots and differing interpretations of these source stories by later authors. (Unfortunately the illustration of Rabadash described in the essay is not the one that was used to illustrate it.)

Much recent criticism on Dorothy L. Sayers has focused on the medieval vices in her work. Carolie Barta, in "'That Precarious Balance': Harmonizing Temperance in Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night," suggests that the virtues also deserve attention, and that the underlying theme and structure of Gaudy Night reflect the virtue of temperance in the interpretation Aquinas gives it: the proper and moderate enjoyment of God-given pleasures as opposed to abstinence from them. Harriet's acceptance of Wimsey's proposal thus strikes a temperate balance between Annie Wilson's life of total devotion to her family and Miss de Vine's dedication to scholarship. This would be interesting to read in conjunction with two classic articles on Sayers in Mythlore, both from 1979: W.R. Epperson's "The Repose of a Very Delicate Balance: Postulants and Celebrants of the Sacrament of Marriage in the Detective Fiction of Dorthy L. Sayers" in Mythlore #22, and M.P. Hannay's "Head Versus Heart in Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night" in Mythlore #21.

In "Correcting the Chronology: Some Implications of 'Early Prose Joy,'" Andrew Lazo discovers a possible error in Lewis's dating of his conversion in Surprised By Joy--a conclusion he reached separately from Alister McGrath in his recent C.S. Lewis--A Life, reviewed above, and using different evidence. An early autobiographical manuscript written in 1930, bolstered by additional evidence from letters, diaries, and poems, suggests that the actual date was in early or middle June 1930, shortly before a visit to Owen Barfield, rather than in Trinity term 1929. Lewis having been mistaken about at least one other date in Joy, Lazo's conclusion is entirely plausible and an important contribution to Lewis biography.

John Patrick Pazdziora and Joshua Richards, in their "The Dantean Tradition in George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind," point out that MacDonald was deeply familiar with Dante's works, and reading this work with the Commedia in mind demonstrates how MacDonald used elements of the setting in his depiction of the country at the North Wind's back and of the Dante-character's experiences and reactions in Diamond.

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