The Golden Compass
- A slow rate of evolution -
December 9th, 2001
Added Brazilian cover art of The Subtle Knife and a few nit-picky things to the FAQ. Also, today is the grand arrival of an Interpretations section for The Golden Compass, complete with an essay comparing Lyra to Little Red Riding Hood. You may laugh if you wish.
The maintainers of this site had been planning to open up a section for essays and analysis on the series for a while, and the clamoring from the masses just solidified the issue. Still not exactly sure how we're going to handle submissions, but we'll just play it by ear.
If you wish to submit anything, bear in mind that it needs to meet a certain level of quality in order to be posted to this site. Whether or not we agree with your point is immaterial - but it does matter that it be clear, concise, well-supported, et cetera (Be sure to check the spelling and the grammar, and send it either in a Microsoft Word document or the body of an e-mail). It's fine if you just want to babble on about how great His Dark Materials is, but the proper place for that is the Forum.
Like I said, we're playing this by ear, and so there won't be any solid, rigid standards until we see what kind of response we get. If you'd like to submit an essay, or just ask us to clarify something, do so via email@example.com.
November 11th, 2001
October 19th, 2001
Of all the covers I've seen, my current favorite is the new German paperback version of Der Goldene Kompass. Something about it appeals to me immensely on a deep, elemental level. I like the rest of the German covers very much as well and, on a side note, found Amazon Germany a pleasure to navigate. For some reason, I found their translation of "hardcover" to be strangely charming: Gebundene Ausgabe, which apparently means "bound output". That's just delightful.
Still looking for artist and publication information for most of the cover art - if you happen to own one of those versions, it would be really swell if you sent that information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would need the publication date (not the original publication, but of that particular edition), publishing house, and cover artist. It's not of vital importance, but it would be nice to know.
October 18th, 2001
The source (Essays Ancient and Modern) and the context (sensual capacity) have been found for the T. S. Eliot quotation, which is good because the frequently quoted version is wrong. It's "withered early by book learning", children. A small point, to be sure, but if you're going to go to the trouble of quoting something, you might as well get it right.
Happily, the search led to the fortuitous discovery of an excellent Introduction to Paradise Lost, by Ian Johnston. It's the best primer I've seen for John Milton's epic thus far, and I heartily recommend it if you have any interest in the poem at all.
October 13th, 2001
Incidentally, I've been trying to hunt up exactly where T. S. Eliot accuses Milton of being "withered by book-learning" - the quote is widely disseminated, but seemingly only that particular chunk of it. I can't find any reference to its larger context. Eliot's observations are generally concise, but I'm inclined to believe that there might have been something more to it than that.
The nearest I could come to a direct Milton reference was in Eliot's The Sacred Wood, and that's only when he's quoting Swinburne in his comparison between John Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess and Milton's Comus:
The difference between this poem [i.e. the Faithful Shepherdess] and Milton's exquisitely imitative Comus is the difference between a rose with a leaf or two faded or falling, but still fragrant and radiant, and the faultless but scentless reproduction of a rose in academic wax for the admiration and imitation of such craftsmen as must confine their ambition to the laurels of a college or the plaudits of a school.
Which is wonderfully catty, but not precisely what I'm looking for. If a section on Comus is ever done, though, that quote is definitely going in.
October 8th, 2001
A veritable FAQ has been added. It's entirely possible that it's inaccurate or misleading or lacking - but it's a start, and it shall be refined as time passes. The repetition of certain questions, however, made it clear that we needed something along those lines. Much thanks to the Forum for proofing my tentative answers.
You're welcome to keep asking the questions answered therein, just be aware that I won't make it a priority to respond.
Vague things have been added to the John Milton section - it's nothing even approaching comprehensive, but it's a start! One day we will really sit down and research him - he's actually quite an interesting individual - and start providing interesting and informative content, but that day is unfortunately not today.
September 29th, 2001
I could tell you why there hasn't been any updates here for nearly six months, but I believe it would be far more amusing for you to come up with the reason. I'd encourage speculation along the lines of alien abduction, and discourage accusations of apathy and slothfulness.
Additions essentially consist of the cover art that poor souls have been sending me in the interim period. I deeply, deeply thank them. Also of note is a keen, labelled alethiometer that can be found at Dark Adamant. Finally, there's a new section that right now has about zero content (much like the rest of this site!). However, therein lies the main reason I really wanted to start up this site in the first place, so there's a reasonable chance that it'll be updated on a semi-frequent basis. Or I'll leave it to rot for another six months. Life is full of uncertainties. However, it helps that I've been getting several interesting letters in that direction. Please, keep them coming.
My e-mail program has been behaving erratically for while, and while I'm reasonably sure I know what kink I need to throw out of it, it still doesn't make me any happier about doing it. I can receive e-mail, but replying is a trickier proposition, and one I probably won't start fulfilling until later this week.
Also, I note with some alarm how...popular the forum has become in my extended absence. Like mushrooms springing up in a dark crevasse...
April 19th, 2001
Once again, another month has passed between updates, and we can only offer up a vague shrug and a muttered apology.
There's a new UK cover for The Golden Compass and a very pretty one for The Golden Compass/Northern Lights. Of particular interest, however, is the Italian version of The Subtle Knife. Not that the US/UK versions aren't delightful, but the cover art gallery was really started up in hopes of getting to see new covers from across the globe. Particular thanks goes to Michela for sending that one in, and hopefully, this will be the start of a new trend. Hint, hint.
Higher powers willing, the next update will both come sooner and have some substance. Until then, just look at the pretty pictures.
March 13th, 2001
February 17th, 2001
This site is opened to the public. Despite having essentially zero content and a possibly buggy design (How's it look on Netscape, by the way?), we're confident that the site is starting on a firm basis. Really, considering the mercurial temperaments of the maintainers, it's astonishing that we've clung to this idea long enough to get it off of the ground, and must mean that the concept behind this site has some merit.
Right now, the site only contains an image gallery of hastily stolen cover images. If any of y'all would like to contribute other covers, it would be much appreciated. Sometime in the near future, I'd also like to do comprehensive sections on John Milton's Paradise Lost, William Blake's poetry, and any other influences that affected His Dark Materials. Unfortunately, my school work tends to conspire against me, and I really can't say how much time I'll have to devote to this site. Of course, if you'd care to lend your thoughts, your theories, and your ideas to this site, it might have a chance to develop into something respectable.
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come writers and critics
His Dark Materials, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and all related characters, concepts, and commercial offspring are the property of Philip Pullman, Scholastic Books, Random House Inc, New Line Cinema and all other right-holders. This unofficial site is neither affiliated nor endorsed by any of the former parties. This site is not for profit and is not intended to infringe upon any commercial endeavors. E-mail: email@example.com