Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beowulf, good & evil, and (again!) fantasy

Dad's post the other day on, among other things, the presence of evil, resonates nicely with what I'm reading right now, C.S. Lewis's "On Three Ways of Writing for Children." In it Lewis says:

"Those who say that children must not be frightened may mean two things. They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless: in fact, phobias. His mind must, if possible, be kept clear of things he can't bear to think of. Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil. If they mean the first I agree with them: but not if they mean the second. The second would indeed be to give children a false impression and feed them on escapism in the bad sense."

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