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 Replies to “The spell of Moominland”

  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.

    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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