“Without Contraries is no Progression”: Dust as an All-Inclusive, Multifunctional Metaphor in Philip Pullman's “His Dark Materials”
Drawing on John Milton's Paradise Lost and on motifs found within Gnostic mythology and the poetry of William Blake, this article explores Philip Pullman's reworking of the Judeo-Christian myth of the Fall. At the centre of this investigation is ‘Dust’: a conventional metaphor for human physicality inspired by God's judgment on humanity. This article suggests that Dust is re-presented in the trilogy in a more positive manner through the development of Milton's metaphor of the ‘dark materials’ into a ‘substance’ in which good and evil, and spirit and matter—conceptual opposites that form the basis of religious dualism—coexist.
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