Journal Article

‘The Undiscovered Country’: Philip Pullman and the ‘Land of the Dead’

Graham Holderness

in Literature and Theology

Volume 21, issue 3, pages 276-292
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm025
‘The Undiscovered Country’: Philip Pullman and the ‘Land of the Dead’

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The place of the dead is a sacred space. But modern scientific theories of life and death concede no meaning to immortality. Using paradigms of place and non-place from Marc Augé, and ideas on sacred space from Mircea Eliade, Albert Rouet and Philip Sheldrake, this article explores narratives of descent into the underworld from classical and Christian sources, focusing on a contemporary version provided in Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. Although Pullman is an avowed atheist who denies religious ideas of postmortality, it is argued that his version of the descent into the Land of the Dead is an interpretation of the Christian Harrowing of Hell.

Journal Article.  7423 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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