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Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials Triology": A Reader's Guide (Continuum Contemporaries Series) [Paperback]

Claire Squires
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Nov 2003 0826414796 978-0826414793
A critical appraisal of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, this text forms part of a series that aims to provide accessible and informative introductions to some of the most popular, most acclaimed and most influential novels of recent years. A team of contemporary fiction scholars from both sides of the Atlantic has been assembled to give a thorough and readable analysis of each of the novels in question.The books in the series all follow the same five-part structure: a short biography of the novelist; a full-length study of the novel, drawing out the most important themes and ideas; a summary of how the novel was received when it was first published; a summary of the novel's standing today, including any film or television adaptations and a helpful list of discussion questions, suggestions for further reading, and useful websites.


Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. (13 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826414796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826414793
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 14.1 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 611,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'Claire Squires has written a fine work on contemporary UK publishing and marketing. Her clear, superbly engaging analyses of the histories behind recent bestseller adds immeasurably to our understanding of contemporary publishing structures and book promotion activity. It deserves to be required reading for those keen on learning how books and authors make their way through today's complex literary marketplace.'
-- David Finkelstein, Research Professor of Media and Print Culture, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

About the Author

Claire Squires is Senior Lecturer in Publihsing at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University, UK.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very poor attempt at an essay 6 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
There is quite a spate of books discussing the dark materials trilogy of Phillip Pullman. Many of them are serious academic articles concerned with how the book delves deeply into religious, and philosophical arguments.
This book is at the cheaper end of the market, but in terms of what you get for your money I would consider that I have paid dearly for it.
It is without doubt at the lighter end of the spectrum academically also, while I can understand that not everyone wants to read a thesis, I also think that they should be treated with a little more respect than this book shows.
I was significantly disappointed with this book, it deals very, very lightly indeed with the issues it brings up from the trilogy. For me it presents little more than a commentary on what happens to the characters overall, and if you've devoured the books as thoroughly as I have, then you'll find this irrelevent re-hashing.
It was also poorly written, although you won't find 'mistakes' or weak structure as such, I found it blandly presented; comment, reference, comment, reference and so on. It had no style or personality, and could have been written by anyone with a passing interest (though not a great one) in the dark materials.
I kept searching for instances of greater analysis and depth within the book (which doesn't take long - it is a very short text) but to no avail. There are chapters on Phillip Pullman himself, and on the book's reception, but these are a couple of pages long between them and certainly don't make up for the dearth of interest in the other chapters.
If, perhaps, you are new to the books, or just thinking about the myriad of concepts, as well as the intertextual facets of the trilogy, then this book will be useful. But it is at best a starting point, I would advise searching the site for other, better written articles or books; there are certainly many to be found.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review by His Dark Materials fansite director 1 Dec 2003
By KB
Format:Paperback
The book is divided into five chapters: The Novelist, The Novels, The Novels’ Reception, The Novels’ Performance, and Further Reading and Discussion Questions. The first chapter is a 13-page biography of Philip Pullman, and a compact analysis of Pullman’s works. The chapter “The Novels” gives a complete analysis of His Dark Materials, reviewing the many different aspects of the books, from Dust to Politics to Religion and The Church, and even Environmentalism. Mrs. Squires also analyses the roles Lyra, Will, Lord Asriel, Mrs. Coulter, and Mary Malone play in His Dark Materials. The third chapter is, as the title suggests, solely about the novels’ reception, and the author describes and quotes the reactions to the novels by different parties, commendable here is the fact that Mrs. Squires notes the positive reception as well as the negative reception of the books, which makes for a very informative read. The chapter “The Novels’ Performance” is a small 3-page chapter that covers the fame of His Dark Materials. The final chapter: “Further Reading and Discussion Questions”, gives a list of questions about: Storytelling, Daemons, Gender, Innocence and Experience, Religion and The Church, Realism and Fantasy, Intertextuality, and Children’s Literature. It also contains a vast Bibliography, and a list of useful websites.
My Opinion: This book offers all that a reader’s guide should. It contains extensive information about Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials, and their reception and performance. Mrs. Squires manages to give a very complete overview of all these points, also due to the fact that she constantly utilizes quotes from articles, reviews, interviews, and other His Dark Materials-related texts.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to His Dark Materials 16 Dec 2003
By Sarah
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent introduction for anybody wanting to learn more about "His Dark Materials". The book is not overly long but gives good back ground knowledge of Pullman's works and there is an interesting section on how the books have been received. Further reading and discussion topics are also thought provoking for any one interested in learning more.
I would reccommend this for any one who likes Pullman's work, teachers, and students of literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but slightly dated 1 May 2009
By hbw VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Not a geek's guide or a fan's guide, but a reader's guide - this book does what it says on the cover.

Covering the background, themes, characters and critical responses (favourable and unfavourable), this is a well-rounded overview of the world of "His Dark Materials" at the level of the interested general reader. It would be a good choice for someone who wants to know something about books before reading them or for a reading group, especially as there is a chapter of questions for discussion.

My only criticism is that the book was written in 2003, before the stage productions and the film "The Golden Compass", which makes it feel slightly out of date.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Northern Lights 21 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
This is a good introduction to Northern Lights etc. I'm a big Pullman fan and although nothing beats reading the novels themselves I thought this gave me lots more to think about when I was doing a school project on His Dark Materials. It's very easy to read and find references in it.
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