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From: "Alice K. Turner" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Moonwalk
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 08:58:43 -0400

Adam replied:

> THE GARDEN BEHIND THE MOON, by Howard Pyle.  A peculiar book: the titular
> garden behind the moon is not heaven, but a place where the souls of
> "simple" children play temporarily.  Its subtitle is "A Real Story of the
> Moon Angel," who is a sympathetic Death figure (nearly a century before
> either Gaiman or Pratchett).  It is sentimental, and not well written, but
> not specifically Christian that I could tell; in fact, it contains a
> of the story of the Fall in which, as with Pullman, the Fall is presented
> a good thing (though without the specifically anti-Christian coloration
> Pullman gives it).

Many, many thanks. But without having read it yet, I should like to correct,
gently, one thing. Sympathetic Death figures were very much a part of
Victorian sentimentality; Victorians were virtually gung ho for death, with
its attendant guardian angels etc. Tom is effectively dead for most of -The
Water Babies- and is taught by two huge female figures. The North Wind (also
female) is Diamond's pychopomp in -At the Back of the North Wind-. And
popular art (very kitschy, we would say now) reflects this heavily. It was
filtered off into fantasy, and this is something that John Crowley captured
triumphantly in -Little, Big-, in some aspects a Victorian pastiche, with
the transformation of Daily Alice.

Some years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, which has a costume
division, put on a Victorian exhibit. To my absolute delight, there was a
wedding panorama in which the bride's family was in mourning. The bride wore
black, as did the attendants. The groom was in the usual penguin suit. But
my absolute favorite was the little ringbearer, a boy of about six, who wore
a black kilt and tam-o-shanter.



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