Recommended Reading

Me (GGD): Hi. (blah blah, I ask about his health, and how Rogers is doing, then) The book is at the printers (he doesn’t know about modern production, it’s just easiest to sum up the 11,000 steps to get the book into Amazon in this way), with the extra stuff you wanted. I have a question. No one understands why those “recommended reading” selections were chosen.

WW: (silence)
WW: what’s your question deary?

GGD: (I laugh loudly, a specific one, the one he recognizes as my polite way of saying ‘you are a pip, professor’, then I say:) Why doesn’t anyone understand why those “recommended reading” selections were chosen? What do they have in common?

WW: Ah, that’s easy. They are all so different, but all contribute to the development of the fantasy genre.

GGD: How? I don’t see what…

WW: (interrupts, though I don’t think he realizes I was speaking): From Mother Goose to JRR Tolkien. We knew the same Dutch artist you know, and in 1962 in fact his Aunt’s postman and I …

GGD: (This time I interrupt rather than hear that kaleidoscopic Tolkien story for the 11,999th time) Well, grandpa, some books in the list are fantasy and fairy tales, but some are gothic novels, some are poems, and-

WW: Well, I like those. What’s wrong with Gothic, Gerty? I was born during that era, my girl, as you know.

GGD: (I laugh my scoff-laugh this time, which he also recognizes and knows well). I DON’T know that because it isn’t true, maybe your own great-grandfather is that old. But what about the Owen Barfield book? That’s not even fiction. I don’t even think he wrote any, did he?

WW: A little, but he had some interesting ideas, so I think people should read that.

GGD: (Ugh – or something similar – I said) Greatgrandad (with practice you can say this using one syllable) there are so many others that could be in the list, based on what I saw in your research, on the development of myths and consciousness, and all that.

WW: Well young readers are welcome to read my papers, that is why we list them too.

GGD: Are they?

WW: (silence again)
WW: (silence more)
WW: (just as I almost gave up, thinking I heard a snore) No, I suppose not. It’s quite technical, professional, and academic, abstruse…and most of the subject matter concern stories that never been printed for the public. Though maybe I should write a summary for young adults, as you call them?

GGD: That would be great! Though I already did: “as consciousness grew, in and out, myths grew, all around. And they are all connected.” Yeah?

WW: Yep, hip-hip hoorah, indeed. Good girl.

GGD: (I laugh, the one he knows has no ulterior signal)

WW: And that is what Owen Barfield says happened with words as well.

GGD: And that is what Arty figures out in Dwarf story is the deal with fairy creatures.

WW: (goes on a tangent since he either doesn’t know what I am referring to or is expanding on it in some way that lost me very quickly – he ends with:) Wilhelm Roscher.

GGD: (I think he is assuming I know who this is, which I don’t, so) Who, greatgrandpa?

WW: Wilhelm Roscher, I met him when I was a student, but of course the war got in the way. Wasteful, nasty business. Anyway he moved philology into mythology and psychology, and I took that work back and forth over greater time periods.

GGD: (He went on, and I tried to take notes during this since I hadn’t heard it before, but there were many names and years and my hand cramped so I gave up and waited for a pause to change the subject since I didn’t know what it was) That makes sense, professor. And, well, I am glad you listed “The Hobbit.” But I also would have put down “Watership Down” – I love those rabbits! – and some new ones.

WW: Why yes, of course, young girl, though everyone knows that, now, don’t they? Though even that Richard Adams new one is old now, old with Mr. Toad. And for me, I see that Harry Potter is done just as well in Novalis, or Phantastes, and vice versa.

(GGD note: WW is referring to Novalis (whose real name I had to Wikipedia just now, as it is “Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg”) who wrote a dream-like fantasy story called ‘Heinrich von Ofterdingen’ in 1800; and “Phantastes: A Fairie Romance for Men and Women” by George MacDonald, 1872.)

GGD: Well at least people have heard of mine. And “Wind in the Willows” is my all time fave. Favourite. (ooops)

WW: I remember well, my dear! I read that to you when you were a child.

GGD: You definitely didn’t, but maybe you can some day.

WW: Well now, I read it to someone, I think. I must have, and that’s how it works. Meaning, dream, word – then something real is told.

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