Episode 72: Phantastes, Ch. 5-9
Welcome back to The Literary Life Podcast and the second episode of our series on George MacDonald’s Phantastes, covering chapters 5-9. Angelina and Thomas kick off the book chat sharing some thoughts on the Duessa-type character in this section. Cindy mentions the connection she made to James Russell Lowell’s poem, “The Vision of Sir Launfal.” They go on to discuss the parallels between this section and the Pygmalion myth. Other mythological references abound throughout the story, as we will see. Our hosts go deep exploring the themes of deception, the fall, doppelgangers and spiritual death in these chapters.
Don’t forget to check out the Advent and Christmas resources our hosts have ready for your holiday season. As mentioned before, Cindy’s new edition of Hallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions with Handel’s Messiah is available now, and she has a live celebration even happening on November 19, 2020. Check our CindyRollins.net for more information. Also, Thomas and Angelina have a sale going on for an Advent Bundle of their popular webinars, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and The Poetry of Advent. Additionally, Kelly Cumbee will be teaching a webinar series called “Seeking the Discarded Image: Nature.”
Be back next week when we will cover chapters 10-14. Remember to join the discussion in our Literary Life Discussion Group.
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A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
School isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.Richard Louv
Milton’s point in Paradise Lost is that free man can be instructed only by the non-compulsive forms, whether vision, parable, or drama. Hence Paradise Lost is a series of interlocking visions, Adam warned by the cathartic contrapuntal vision of satanic fall, and fall through vision of Eve. To fall is to choose an illusion, not a wrong reason.Northrup Frye
When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
by John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Notebooks on Renaissance Literature by Northrup Frye
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carol
Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouquée
Faust (Parts One and Two) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
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Would Dido be another example of the temptress motif? She is different from the Duessa-like characters, and she is only a mortal, but she also wants to trap Aeneas in the fantasy she created when they were in the cave. She doesn’t see that if he fulfills her desires, he would throw away his destiny. This scene just really reminded me of the cave scene in the Aeneid and how disastrous it turned out to be.
I cannot find Melanthis online. I find Melanthius from the Odysee, but not a match. Could you please point me in the right direction. I am sure I am spelling his name incorrectly.