Beyond His Dark Materials

Innocence and Experience in the Fiction of Philip Pullman


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About the Book

Beyond the His Dark Materials series lies a vast fictional realm populated by the many diverse character creations of Philip Pullman. During a more than 30-year career, Pullman has created worlds filled with quests, trials, tragedies and triumphs, and this book explores those worlds. The picture books, novellas and novels written for children, adolescents and adults are analyzed through the themes of innocence and experience.  The book is divided into two sections.  The first, Stories of Innocence, especially examines reimagined fairy tales.  The second, Stories of Experience, is especially focused on retellings of biblical stories.  The journeys Pullman sets his characters on teach them that one must embrace change, loss and suffering to grow in wisdom and grace.

About the Author(s)

Susan Redington Bobby is an associate professor of English at Wesley College. She is the editor of Fairy Tales Reimagined: Essays on New Retellings (McFarland, 2009), the author of Beyond His Dark Materials: Innocence and Experience in the Fiction of Philip Pullman (McFarland 2012), and the author of a critical essay in the His Dark Materials Casebook (Palgrave 2014).

Bibliographic Details

Susan Redington Bobby

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 207
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6508-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0081-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Introduction: Embracing Change, Loss and Growth on the Path from Innocence to Experience      1

Part I: Stories of Innocence: The Quest and the Path to Maturity      7
1. Mossycoat, Puss in Boots and Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp: Fairy Tale and Folktale Re-visions      9
2. The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and The Scarecrow and His Servant: Quest-Driven Tales      30
3. Count Karlstein, or The Ride of the Demon Huntsman: The Influence of German Romanticism and the Gothic on an Evolving Text      50
4. Spring-Heeled Jack and The New Cut Gang: Thunderbolt’s Waxwork and The Gas-Fitters’ Ball: Narratives of Orphaned, Displaced, and Dispossessed Children      72

Part II: Stories of Experience: Betrayal and the Path to Maturity      93
5. The Sally Lockhart Quartet: Socially-Conscious Penny Dreadfuls      95
6. I Was a Rat! and How to Be Cool: The Intersection of Fantasy and Realism Through Social Satire      118
7. The Broken Bridge and The White Mercedes: The Impact of the Sins of the Father (and Mother) in Young Adult Contemporary Novels      143
8. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ: A New Path from Innocence to Experience      163

Chapter Notes      181
Bibliography      187
Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

“Invites scholarly consideration of Pullman’s lesser-known fictions, long overshadowed by the His Dark Materials series…ambitious…thorough and engaging…upon finishing this book, the reader will have a complete picture of Pullman’s oeuvre, his characters, his plot trajectories, and his themes.” — Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

“With more than a nod to William Blake, this book is divided into two sections: the first, Stories of Innocence, examines those of Pullman’s stories, especially reimagined fairy tales, which deal with more innocent characters and are written for youthful audiences; the second, Stories of Experience, deals with those stories in which the characters face difficulties and deeper sufferings, and is especially focused on novels and retellings of biblical stories.” — Reference & Research Book News