Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is
rightly acclaimed as a modern classic. Pullman
creates alternative worlds that fascinate and
delight, and has built up a loyal army of readers.
He has been described as the ‘most significant’,
but also the ‘most dangerous’ author in Britain.
Who is Philip Pullman, and why have his books
provoked such a wide variety of strong opinions?
Tony Watkins explains what makes
His Dark Materials such a magnificent
work of fiction. He explores the
influences that shaped Pullman’s
writing and the major themes of the trilogy,
including dæmons, Dust and Pullman’s
perspective on God.
Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, a sweeping retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost and The Fall, has caused great controversy among Christian readers. Watkins, a self-proclaimed Christian and managing editor for Damaris's Culture Watch Web site, offers a perspective on Pullman's work that is anything but dark and is sure to enlighten the debate among Christians. Watkins explains that while his intention is to provide readers the opportunity to appreciate Pullman in general, he also believes fervently that "it's helpful for all fans of Pullman's work Christian or otherwise to understand a Christian perspective on it." The book is divided into three parts, the first a walk through Pullman's life and background and the second an overview of the major dimensions of each book in the trilogy. It is not until the third section that readers will find what they are really looking for: a critical evaluation of major themes and story dimensions such as d mons, sin and the infamous "death of God" an assessment that is smart and wisely restrained. Watkins's critical appreciation of Pullman's trilogy will surely appeal to a Christian audience, but will reach well beyond this market to a general readership looking for a solid, substantially sourced, and well-written analysis of this beloved work of literature.