Baldwin, Pullman on C.S. Lewis, Wolfe

At The Elegant Variation, Mark Sarvas serves up some great James Baldwin links.

Baldwin, in some of the short stories collected in Going to Meet the Man, and in his autobiographical novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, captured the stultifying feel of charismatic Christianity better than any other writer of his time. His evocation of racial concerns is just about unparalleled, in my (white girl) opinion. And here’s an excerpt from Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone.

In the Independent (U.K.), writer Philip Pullman answers questions from readers. Here’s one:

You famously criticised CS Lewis for incorporating Christian values into his books for children, and yet you do the same with atheism in your books. Isn’t this a double standard? –Steve Turner, Chiswick, London

Now, let’s get to the bottom of this one. I have never criticised CS Lewis for incorporating Christian values into his work – far from it. My criticism is of the lack of Christian values in his work: the lack of charity, for example, and the presence instead of such qualities as misogyny, racism and hatred of all progressive and enlightened thought. He even sneers at people because of their belief in vegetarianism. I mean, really. Whatever else you say about CS Lewis, don’t try and make the claim that he was a great Christian writer.

A new Kenyan literary journal, Kwani, has a conversation with Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities. Brief excerpts of Bonfire and other Wolfe novels are provided. (Via Golden Rule Jones.)

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