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Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy$
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Brett M. Rogers and Benjamin Eldon Stevens

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190610050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190610050.001.0001

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Filthy Harpies and Fictive Knowledge in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy

Filthy Harpies and Fictive Knowledge in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy

Chapter:
(p.233) 10 Filthy Harpies and Fictive Knowledge in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy
Source:
Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy
Author(s):

Antonia Syson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190610050.003.0011

Antonia Syson, in “Filthy Harpies and Fictive Knowledge in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy,” focuses on the harpies—their responses to Lyra’s storytelling in The Amber Spyglass and their changing role throughout His Dark Materials. Syson first explores the role of the harpies in framing the kind of knowledge offered by the three novels that make up His Dark Materials. Next, Syson addresses the problems posed by the harpies for the novels’ commitment to upending traditional discourses that visualize embodied, material knowledge as a form of defilement. Syson argues that Pullman offers a critique of modern fantasy that de-stabilizes several binary oppositions. In their place, Pullman articulates two kinds of ‘fictive knowledge,’ one that expands knowledge and another that distorts experience.

Keywords:   Epistemology, ‘Fictive Knowledge’, Harpies, His Dark Materials (book trilogy), Pullman, Philip

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