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Elric: Philosophical influence?

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  • Elric: Philosophical influence?

    Mike,

    I've finally put my "anti-heroes" conference roundtable together, and as it turns out I'll be the one presenting a paper on Elric. Now I just have to write the paper.

    I was wondering what, if any, you would consider important "philsophical" influences in writing the Elric books. I'm detecting strains of existentialism, and I think I'll be making a case for a sort of "inverted" idealism that actually plays out against the German tradition in interesting ways... but I'd like your thoughts before I wander too far afield.

    (Surely you know that as an academic I'll tell you what you REALLY think anyway, but what the hell?)

  • #2
    I think you might find a lot in the existentialists to support your paper. Also, see Doc's article on the Second Ether as well as my article on Mike and William Blake, and also chapters 9 and 10 of my book, which are on chaos theory and aesthetics (go to my profile and click my homepage). Along these lines, see Charles Jencks' book The Architecture of the Jumping Universe.

    From most of the discussions here--and from what Mike sometimes says as well--it is easy to place him too close to the existentialists (and the Beats). But I say Mike is as much an early-modern as he is a post-modern. A comparison with Blake will quickly show this. There is a humor, too, that we must seek outside the domain of the existentialists, and that interestingly enough is to be found in George Meredith, among others. Mike's satire--and that is a philosophy in itself--compares favorably with Huxley, as in, for example, Point Counterpoint. You rather get the feeling they've been to the same parties. And you wouldn't be too far off the mark to see a moral sense (and depth) that flashes straight out of Dickens. And maybe . . . even . . . Kipling. Mmm! But go have another look at Kim and you'll see what I mean:

    http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.p...=true&UID=4239
    Last edited by nalpak retrac; 10-13-2006, 02:59 PM.

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    • #3
      Moorcock and Process Philosophy

      Process philosophy themes abound in Mr. Moorcock's works.
      Process trumps substance metaphysics and eclipses the notion of linear time by replacing "being" with a temporal horizon of "becoming". Possibility and relation are key concepts.

      Whitehead is possibly the most reknowned processist, but it is an essential, if understated, element in the work of Dewey and Heidegger. I wrote on this topic extensively in grad school, and I regret that I never did a piece on Moorcock and process thought. I may yet do so.

      MM's work provides an interesting backdrop against which process themes can be better understood. I suspect, though I may be wrong, that MM is not a Whitehead, Dewey or Heidegger scholar. Still, I wonder if the threads of process thought so abundant in his work is entirely accidental, or-to some measure-by design...?

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      • #5
        Originally posted by Brandur
        Process philosophy themes abound in Mr. Moorcock's works.
        Process trumps substance metaphysics and eclipses the notion of linear time by replacing "being" with a temporal horizon of "becoming". Possibility and relation are key concepts.

        Whitehead is possibly the most reknowned processist, but it is an essential, if understated, element in the work of Dewey and Heidegger. I wrote on this topic extensively in grad school, and I regret that I never did a piece on Moorcock and process thought. I may yet do so.
        Interesting! Don't know "process" and "substance" in this context. I'd love to hear more?

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
          If you're not familiar with MM's Multiverse comic, you might want to check it out...
          I'm only vicariously familiar with the Multiverse comic, though I've always been interested...it's a genre I simply haven't taken the time to indulge in. I'm motivated to do so, now, however.

          I'm sure you've heard this kind of flattery before, but I must tell you that your fantastic fiction influenced my intellectual development and inspired my academic pursuits. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling indebted to you.

          I must also say that the mere existence of this forum speaks volumes for the man Michael Moorcock. How wonderful that such a gifted author, who has already given so much to his fans, would take the time to interact with readers online. I'm just thrilled I discovered this site.

          Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
          Interesting! Don't know "process" and "substance" in this context. I'd love to hear more?
          I'm flattered that I've managed to pique the interest of a scholar like yourself. If you want, I have a condensed & stripped essay I'd be willing to share with you. It's an amalgamation of two papers I've done on process interpretations of Dewey's ethics, Heidegger's Being and Time, and my own theory of relation, meaning and consciousness. All references and quotes have been removed, so this version is not really useful for serious scholarship. The complete originals I am hesitant to share, in the interest of academic integrity. Let me know if you are truly interested and I'll send you the text.
          Last edited by Brandur; 10-14-2006, 09:55 PM.

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          • #7
            Hi Brandur:

            I've comtacted you via the "send e-mail" button. It might be fun if you could post a brief abstract here as well/instead, especially characterizing your concepts using Mike's fiction.

            Then we can cite you and this site when we discuss your ideas in our articles and conference papers.

            Looking forward to it.

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            • #8
              Yeah, I'm curious, too. Thanks for nice words, pard. Interaction with readers is something I've always done and the net has made this a lot easier and faster! I've always seen my work as a kind of dialogue.

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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              • #9
                Originally posted by Carter Kaplan
                Then we can cite you and this site when we discuss your ideas in our articles and conference papers.

                Yes, yes, yes.

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                • #10
                  I had a head full of steam and was making good progress revising my old process philosophy papers, drawing parallels between process concepts and Moorcock's fantasy, but I was rudely interrupted when my wife decided to give birth. Damned inconsiderate of her. I am so in love with my new baby daughter, however, I've decided to forgive her mother.

                  Meanwhile, I followed Mike's advice and picked up a copy of Moorcock's Multiverse. Wow. Why did I wait so long to discover this medium? I feel deflated, though: after reading just a few pages, I realize I have nothing particularly insightful to say when the process connection is so bloody obvious. Curses.

                  I am determined, however, to put together (in between dirty diapers and work) a basic outline of temporal and existential themes common to process thought and Moorcock's writing--once I've thoroughly caroused through Multiverse, that is. Hopefully, fellow fans will find my rambling more interesting than pretentious. Wish me luck.

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