A Conversation for h2g2 Opinion Poll: Let's Talk Among Ourselves

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Post 21

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

Hugh {"Doctor Doolittle"] Lofting was definitely not politically correct is his characterization of indigenous peoples on the floating island in "Doctor Doolittle."

Rudyard Kipling can be embarrassing to read at times. I tend to cut him slack, though, because when he wrote "The Jungle book" he lived in Vermont. Kipling in Vermont, Mark Twain [Huck's friend Jim] in Connecticut, Longfellow ["Hiawatha"] in Boston/Cambridge, etc. You could be embarrassed for these writers, or you could imagine them in the times in which they wrote. I'm inclined to cut some slack for these fine fellow New Englanders. smiley - tongueout If your kids don't like to read, but you can get them excited by works by these authors, is that so bad? smiley - smiley

(FWIW, I think "Kim" is a masterpiece)


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Post 22

Chris Morris

One of our local heroes, John Buchan (The Thirty Nine Steps) was a great supporter of Cecil Rhodes' ideas of taking our great British civilisation to the Dark Continent but was also obviously a genuinely nice, caring sort of person. So, yes, it's very easy in hindsight to be critical of people's views (and, of course, I'm a hopeless Relativist in any case).

I don't anticipate living to 92 but, at 66 I've already got a lifetime of embarrassing and regrettable things that I've said behind me without any products of genius to balance them! smiley - biggrin


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Post 23

paulh, not fond of Lord Mudpants

I think that a writer can create characters with very bad ideas and behavior, but not necessarily agree with those characters. "Uncle Tom's cabin" had Simon Legree. "David Copperfield" had Uriah Heep. Harriet Beecher Stow and Charles Dickens were hardly holding these characters up as model citizens. smiley - biggrin

When you read a work of the imagination, your job is to see if you can enter into the world that the author has created. That world may have different rules and assumptions from your own, but as long as the author has managed to be consistent with these, it's all right.

Rather than consign authors from problematic eras to the dustbin, it might be wise to stretch one's imagination by trying to see how the writers of that era worked within their worldviews.

(gets off soapbox smiley - run)



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