I know my Mynheeren Peeperkorn, Mr. Franzen, and you have not written a Mynheer Peeperkorn.
Could it be that the novel itself, that quintessential 19th century form, especially the doorstopper Philosophical novel, that realization of s a massive accumulation of intellectual capital, by its very form must express its racist capitalist imperialist colonialist sexist Victorian origins?
Should I try to find some work of non-fiction that said this fifty years ago, and much better? Maybe late Wilson. I think I should.
Now you can take the view that of course this is the case, because if there is a dirty end of the stick then women will get it. Anything done by women is automatically downgraded. This is the view widely held -- well, widely held by my wife every since she started going to consciousness-raising group meetings -- who tells me it's ridiculous to speculate on the topic because the answer is so obvious. Magic, according to this theory, is something that only men can be really good at, and therefore any attempt by women to trespass on the sacred turf must be rigorously stamped out. Women are regarded by men as the second sex, and their magic is therefore automatically inferior. There's also a lot of stuff about man's natural fear of a woman with power; witches were poor women seeking one of the few routes to power open to them, and men fought back with torture, fire and ridicule.
I'd like to know that this is all it really is. But the fact is that the consensus fantasy universe has picked up the idea and maintains it. I incline to a different view, if only to keep the argument going, that the whole thing is a lot more metaphorical than that. The sex of the magic practitioner doesn't really enter into it. The classical wizard, I suggest, represents the ideal of magic -- everything that we hope we would be, if we had the power. The classical witch, on the other hand, with her often malevolent interest in the small beer of human affairs, is everything we fear only too well that we would in fact become.
« Older Re-creating ridiculous family pictures.... | Canadian Meredith Fitzmaurice ... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt