Friday, June 1, 2012

[An Author's Aside]

Since I started this fan fiction novel, troubles have been coming but also apparently not from readers or anyone in particular, council, advice. Or what seems to suggest itself as such by the things I read. It irritates me.

Like this thing about Planet Narnia: if Narnia books are astrologically set to Seven Classical Planets*, to what tune goes this? Uranus, Neptunus and, is Pluto a planet? One obvious answer is: to none. This is not a Narnia book. It is set in England and the only ground which hails to the name of Narnia is Narnese rather than Narnian. It is in Umbria in Italy, as author of original series well knew. It is set on earth, and if earth being central to universe and still without motion has no tune, some of its centuries do. Or one could say it is in tune with the fixed stars: a detail being that if geocentrism is true and yet sun is not center of all stars spread through space as thought by astronomers today, but fixed stars are more or less in a sphere, according to Bessel and others, they waggle a bit. But also in the sense that apart from waggling they are fixed and so is the moral law.

Susan Pevensie has naturally, without grace, a bit more courage than Ismene, or gives the impression. Yet she knows well there are laws that do not bend. Since the book is no tragedy I will not bring her to martyrdom as Antigone, but she will testify to "thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" and "thou shalt not kill" and "for anyone who scandalises one of these little ones, it would have been better if a millstone had been tied around his neck" - as a teacher in compulsory school in England, she does risk the millstone test. And, for passing it in the eyes of heaven, she pays.

But in a sense it is also another old favourite of mine apart from Narnia: Ivan Nazaroff. He knew he could not go to Chrustev and say "comrade Nikita, Christ died for my sins and yours, won't you read about it in the Bible with me"? And Susan Pevensie knew she could not stand up to England and say: "I am Queen of Narnia" - she would have aroused more panic than Jadis in London, as likely. The novels of Myrna Grant show the situation of Christians under Communism: Komsomol, Young Pioneers, Laws decreed unjustly by the party ... and teachers functioning under such laws.

Now, Psychiatry in the West has long functioned as such a Communist party. Children are materially supported even from non-wed mothers, but they are also taken away from parents more often than previous centuries and millennia. Back to days when adults were killed and children taken as slaves or for adoption by warriors whose names are known in the West. Was Attila the Hun in that branch? Genghis Khan I think was. Teachers are regularly concerned with both of these - as well as with Abortion, unless schools are Christian: not meaning every teacher gets involved personally, and when I taught for "6 months" (I was dismissed after expiration of contract) I was not approached by any teenage girl in such a situation, but if I had continued and been sufficiently respected, I am not sure how I could avoided situations in which either I would have tried to save a life by sabotaging policies about "it's her decision" (when she is approached by a pro-lifer) and "it's all for her own good" (when she is being pushed by the anti-lifers) - or earned a millstone around my neck.

Nobby was taken away from his parents in a novel by Enid Blyton: because his father goes to jail, obviously, but also because he beat him.** Now, in the novel this is seen as a humane decision, for Nobby's own good. In my fan fic, I give another side to the story. George, the daugter of Quentin and Fanny, may still have problems admitting her name is Georgina, but she is not a lesbian. Together they help Susan do what I would not think quite possible for me if I went back to non-Christian schools: so this is a cross-over of fan fictions, one in which also Father Brown and Doctor Watson (or at least a younger assistant of his) are real people whom Susan Pevensie will meet (Sherlock Holmes being already dead). Without the help of these guys, I am not sure Susan would not have continued to earn the reproach of Polly Plummer. Without the help of guys such as these, I am not sure Ivan Nazaroff could have continued to live a Christian life.

Since Ivan Nazaroff stories by Myrna Grant are considerably less well known than Narnia books by C S Lewis, known as Jack to his friends and family, I will give you some clues about him. His father once tells him his own grandfather was a property owner in Czar Russia. Oh, there were such who exploited the peasants horribly (admission to what was at least being taught in Communist schools and was perhaps true in places too), but not our ancestor back before the revolution. He tells him this in order to prepare him for his visit to exactly the same property - now a Kolkhos - and to tell him not to miss the opportunity to bring home his ancestor's family Bible. He does not miss the opportunity.

But in some ways the England of Susan Pevensie was as closed as the Soviet Union of Ivan Nazaroff - or if not, I am projecting back to English fifties what was going on in Swedish Seventies, Eighties, Nineties. You might as well know that about my novel. I am adressing that to give her an excuse to abandon Narnia in the first place, and also to give her an adventure.

If Ivan novels are novels in which Sovietic Atheism is the crook, then this is one in which Psychiatry takes that part. And indeed American and Swedish psychiatry collaborated with Chrustev's early on in the fifties. New criteria were added to what could stamp one as liable to be forced into their treatment, and I am far from sure claiming to have been to Narnia would not have been one of them. If she does not claim so, how can she avoid continuing the lie by which she placed her siblings in danger - or continue to be lied for and therefore placed in a very uncomfortable position?

If I had written this book chapter after chapter, I would obviously have placed this one after the previous and before the following. In reality I put it in the middle of extant chapters, of which I here give you the series in a table:

chapters "previous" to thischapters "posterior" to this
previous and posterior refer to reading order only, they are previous to this in the writing order

original four chapters in bold underlined
Susan has a bad fright.
Who told Susan: introducing Revd. Jinx
Splendour Hyaline - again
Off to Sevenoaks.
The Car Ride to Sevenoaks was a Flashback
Reverend Pewsey's Last Sermon
Explanations of a Practical Nature
St John's Feast in Narnia
Helpers of the Holy Souls
Susan reads her story again
Susan reads Lucy's essay on Astronomy
Ramandu and Galileo, part 1
Ramandu and Galileo, part 2
Susan's Teacher Talk
And Friedman looked for Su in the wrong office ...
Jack and Tollers discuss pipeweed
Where Aslan was a Lion Cub. [expanded since]
A Glass of Cremisan with the Priest
Father Brown's Last Bow, part 1
Father Brown's Last Bow, Part 2
Susan's dreams become a book

* This does not preclude thematics from the Seven Sacraments! If Jupiter could serve - obviously not dominate even according to such a Christian as would accept astrology - the Eucharist and Sun being lifegiving the Font, LWW would be the Eucharist novel and VDT the Baptism novel: in reality both sacraments are closer to VDT, and LWW is about the Calvary from which they flow - or about the Sacrifice of the Mass, if the Stone Table there, like the Mass in Our World is where the the Sacrifice of Calvary is renewed, made present. Mars and Confirmation go together, since in Confirmation we are clad in the armour of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: PC is in a very key moment about Lucy first lacking then having the grace to stand up for her faith and for truth. Funny that Prince Caspian also alludes to political correctness which is an enemy of confirmation graces - and both abbreviate as PC. Moon goes well with the Sacrament that testifies of our fickleness, and at the end Aslan tells Jill "I will not always be scolding you". HHB gets people married (like Cor and Aravis), and that reminds of Venus (unless you think very hard about the Wedding of Mercury and Philology), MN gets Frank crowned, and that is as good a reminder of priesthood as Narnia across-the-wood-between-the-worlds gives us - the Umbrian one having of course Catholic clergy - and there you have Mercury since priests are preachers. Also the Magician Uncle serves Mercury as Hermes Trismegistos, which is a bad thing, but the criteria for King Frank are those Timothy had to apply to a "bishop". And Last Battle is about people not getting extreme unction, but dying in battle: and yet Narnia is by then sick, and calling for some kind of such. A bit like Oscar Wilde on his death bed in Paris (was the bar in Magdalen College Oxford already called Oscar Wilde bar in CSL's time there?). And obviously the seven fountainheads of sin are also seven. Jadis and Edmund start off as jealous. Miraz as angry. Eustace and Pug and Gumpas are all greedy. And so on? I mean, sevenfold underthemes for a seven book series need not be about just one of these underthemes./HGL

**Read up on it, Nobby's parents were dead, he left an uncle, and as he was fourteen he got to work immediately: with farmer Mackie. Sorry, Enid, bad memory of mine!


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

to main index:
Chronicle of Susan Pevensie

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Right now the index contains no more chapters than these, and this author's aside if you call it a chapter, but it is meant to grow as new chapters are added between extant ones.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Oh, one more thing: I was just wanting to know again what a bandersnatch is, you know how CSL said: "You cannot influence Tolkien, you might as well try to influence a bandersnatch."

He was of course repeating it as a meme from Alice through the looking glass, the White King (remember how chess board queens are always faster than chess board kings if they want to) there saying about her: "She runs so fearfully quick. You might as well try to catch a Bandersnatch!"

source: wiki (= Anon.)

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Here is more about Myrna Grant's work, she started with a biography of a living person - or a just killed person:


Then came Ivan series, and I summarised the book:

Ivan and the Hidden Bible

There is a total of nine of them.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

For the chapter Ramandu and Galileo, part 2, I may be guilty of anachronism about what was known in the fourties:

There are about ten thousand stars that show annual waggling known as parallax at all.

That is taken from an astronomy book of the eighties. Back in the fourties it is possible less of them were as yet observed with a parallax.

Well ... if some stars show 'backward parallax' as Father once told me, it is supposed to be due to mistakes in measuring

To the present day two stars are observed as having a parallax backwards greater than any parallax the way heliocentrics presume it goes. At least unless I and another geocentric did not misread the meaning of an online catalogue known as Hipparchus. Here again, I am not sure it was already known in the fourties.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

I alluded to the Beyliss case in the chapter The Unhappy Jew. I think what happened in similar cases of kidnapped boys, when there was found a corpse without blood, was that kind of thing. I do not know if there was any sick Jewish boy to heal or - supposing there was - if he became a Christian after becoming healed in that case. But I think that kind of hindthought may occasionally have added to the hatred of Christianity to proning such measures. And I do think Father Pranaitis was hiding his knowledge because he did not want to be involved in hanging a man. Whether Beyliss was innocent or not.

I think Pranaitis wanted the death of no single Jew, but that he wrote his book on the anti-Christianity of the Talmud as a practical warning - so that Christian boys could be saved from such evil things and Jews saved from successfully perpetrating it. But when it came to using the same knowledge to hang Beyliss, I think he wanted no part at all in an execution.

Quoting som canons from Lateran IV, the two which may have been relevant to the decision I attribute to Father Pranaitis:


SUMMARY Clerics may neither pronounce nor execute a sentence of death. Nor may they act as judges in extreme criminal cases, or take pa in matters connected with judicial tests and ordeals.

No cleric may pronounce a sentence of death, or execute such a sentence, or be present at its execution. If anyone in consequence of this prohibition (hujusmodi occasions statuti) should presume to inflict damage on churches or injury on ecclesiastical persons, let him be restrained by ecclesiastical censure. Nor may any cleric write or dictate letters destined for the execution of such a sentence. Wherefore, in the chanceries of the princes let this matter be committed to laymen and not to clerics. Neither may a cleric act as judge in the case of the Rotarrii, archers, or other men of this kind devoted to the shedding of blood. No subdeacon, deacon, or priest shall practice that part of surgery involving burning and cutting. Neither shall anyone in judicial tests or ordeals by hot or cold water or hot iron bestow any blessing; the earlier prohibitions in regard to dueling remain in force.


SUMMARY: No cleric may so extend his jurisdiction as to become detrimental to secular justice.

As desirous as we are that laymen do not usurp the rights of clerics, we are no less desirous that clerics abstain from arrogating to themselves the rights of laymen. Wherefore we forbid all clerics so to extend in the future their jurisdiction under the pretext of ecclesiastical liberty as to prove detrimental to secular justice; but let them be content with the laws and customs thus far approved, that the things that are Caesar's may be rendered to Caesar, and those that are God's may by a just division be rendered to God.

NOT TESTIFYING CORRECTLY IN THE BEYLISS CASE could at once have been seen as undue interference with secular justice, and - I think this was more important to Father Pranaitis - an obedience to the words of canon 18: Nor may any cleric write or dictate letters destined for the execution of such a sentence.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

It is important to note that I think this evil custom ended after the Beyliss case. If my reconstruction is right, secular justice could no longer thereafter be used as a substitute for stoning their own criminals.

As for "punishing" Christians, they soon got hold of other means of doing that. Like the Russian Revolution. Like Psychiatry as it has been since Chrushchev era - even in parts of the West.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Note that as Canon three of same council is the canon concerned with the burning of heretics, its actual words do not strictly imply killing - which would have been in obvious conflict with canon 18, as cited.

Exterminare means most often simply expell.

Canon three gave a ruler who wanted good standing with the Church three alternatives with regards to heretics (if such there be on the territory):

- convert every one of them
- burn those not converted OR
- simply exile those not converted.

When I look to canon two, either I suspect Joachim of Flore was a reader of Photius, or that modern Photians have received from Joachim of Flore, perhaps through an exile to East of the Schism of 1054, like canon three would regard as sufficient, if they would receive his unrepentant disciples, if there were such.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

In this novel I allowed two Catholic priests - one in Narni and one Palestinian in Bethlehem to refer to Jamnia.

This was accepted scholarship from at least 1871 to very recently, thus also when the novel is set. Here is a reaction of mine to what I learned after writing those chapters: