Reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: A Special Edition of the Journal of Children’s Literature Studies.
Authors: Cox, K. and Jordan, S.
Journal: The Journal of Children's Literature Studies
Publisher: Wizards Tower Press
Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials (1995-2000), is a significant late twentieth-century text with lasting cultural appeal. Initial book-length publications were of poor academic value and were targeted at a general readership.i The beginning of scholarly analysis of his works can be traced to Millicent Lenz and Carole Scott’s collection (2005) and Pullman’s inclusion in chapters on children’s literature (see for example Hunt and Lenz 2005). During the period of publication, the novels were controversial, both in terms of their subject matter (specifically the depictions of organized religion) and their crossover readership. These controversies continue to resonate, although are no longer the sole areas of analysis addressed by critics. The trilogy’s religious representations were prominently discussed in the popular press at the time of publication, were repeatedly addressed by Pullman in interview and have resulted in a number of publications. This special edition draws together contemporary research on Pullman to consider new approaches to the trilogy. It is hoped that these perspectives will help shape contemporary approaches to his work and become a valuable addition to current Pullman scholarship.