The spell of Moominland

The Myriad Things:

These days, the Moomin characters have turned into a global franchise; and yet when I think about my own relationship with these books that were so formative of my imagination, I realise that what I owe these books is something much more private and intimate, a philosophy of sorts. Because in Tove Jansson’s books, when I re-read them now, I find a fierce recognition of the importance of solitude; an expansive sense of friendship—not a friendship that erases solitude, but one that is a kind of mutual recognition within it; a sense of delight in the world, its seasons and its changes, that doesn’t require any form of transcendence; and a hospitable generosity of spirit that manages, in one way or another, to accommodate even the most awkward and tricky of characters—not just eccentrics, stove-dwelling ancestors, hemulens, free spirits and oddballs, but also genuinely alarming creatures such as grokes and philosophers.

3 Comments


  1. Mmmmmm, beautifully expressed, Dave. It’s hard sometimes to return to the relationship brokered long ago with a series of books, especially when the global franchise business has ground into gear and stolen something that was once intimate and a marvellous discovery.

    I loved it when Bill Watterson turned his back on all franchise deals for Calvin and Hobbes, leaving only the work itself for us to enjoy. I loved it too that he spoke out about such matters, and made eloquent arguments and stuck to his guns. His is a pretty lone voice of course, but I’m in awe that he didn’t crumble. I despise the impositions that swamp an original creative work when the merchandisers get working. I hate Disney’s re-rendering of Pooh, and the fact that Beatrix Potter has been re-drawn for the very young, to ‘reinvigorate’ what was already perfect. Somebody always seems to think they can improve things, and then knock all the life out of them.

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    1. Quite right about Waterson and especially Pooh, the Disney version of which should be required to drop the final h. I hope you’ll leave a comment to this effect on Will’s original post, too.

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