08 March 2016

The Love of Gwendolyn Dahl

compilation volume by Jonnie Comet

from the ongoing series A Tale Of Two Paradises

media release by Jayne Christopher, for Surf City Source
for general distribution
March 2016

Edmund Burke has it that a certain sublimity exists even in frightening circumstances. In fiction, this can account for the macabre fascination readers have with the most lurid particulars, no matter how immoral it may seem to face and to appreciate them. As a part of the ongoing Two Paradises fantasy series, the short stories contained within Jonnie Comet’s The Hope of Gwendolyn Dahl (Surf City Source Media Group) amply fulfil Burke’s definition of the sublime. Ostensibly a romance, Hope does not quail from lush sensuality nor blunt, unflattering detail. This open-eyed appeal to both the frank and the fanciful is vital to the series’ charm and literary merit.

The Hope of Gwendolyn Dahl opens with the episode ‘Serendipity’, relating two young people’s long, meandering trek over the picturesque interior of tropical Eden Island. Cast off by her abusive brothers, Gwendolyn encounters Jonathan, who gallantly escorts her towards safety, comfort and, ultimately, romance. Over the course of the afternoon and evening the two, in spite of being too far apart in age and having revealed some startling personal secrets, forge an attachment that will conduct them through their shared and individual destinies.

If too young to be a conventional romantic heroine, Gwendolyn is clever and cautious whilst lacking nothing of what makes her authentic as a precocious pubescent girl. She speaks in a stilted style (using few contractions), an affectation from her affinity for Romantic literature but not uncommon in the exotic but formal British Paradise Islands. An accomplished gymnast and ballerina, she is as courageous facing emotional trials as she is facing physical ones. Long belittled by her family, she suffers from an inferiority complex, heightened by her youth and pixyish proportions, till Jonathan, in ‘Creamsicle’, assures her, ‘No mind and spirit like yours could ever be termed “little”.’

Jonathan, son of the territorial earl and heir to a fortune, revels in the role of protector and provider, even whilst succumbing to Gwendolyn’s misplaced, put-on promiscuity. In ‘Day On The Strand’ he introduces her to some of his own acquaintance, impressing her with his eagerness to acknowledge a girlfriend so much younger. Recognised by her father in ‘Sunday Dinner’, Jonathan insists on downplaying his own status in order to be taken only as a respectable young man with a sincere interest in a charming young lady. In private he is as captivated by her heart and mind as she is with his, each of them excited and relieved to discover the embodiment of long-held romantic ideals. But, owing to family commitments, Jonathan will not commit too much too soon, forcing the crisis at the end of ‘Caesura’... and necessitating the next instalment.

Like much of this author’s work, Hope wades deeply into the risqué. The foreword attempts to prepare the reader for the standards of this incarnation of Paradise, a fantastic world strikingly liberal in its freedoms for teenagers. Brief attire, alcohol consumption, and early, casual sexual involvement are all commonplace here. Hope centres round the thematic concept of the prodigal maiden, one that has appeared in other Comet works. The premise of a young girl too soon facing mature situations provides a heroine who is vulnerable, here emotionally, and plenty of opportunities for suspense and worry for her sake.

Gwendolyn, to her credit, is a born warrior, determining that ‘rising to the challenge of being the regular girlfriend of Lord Jonathan of Paradise was no more difficult than mastering a two-and-a-half back salto off the uneven bars.’ She constitutes the best of what heroines should be, astute, eager and unafraid, even in facing the myriad of challenges that accompany falling in love.

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Individual episodes from The Hope of Gwendolyn Dahl are available in Kindle- e-text editions.  The compilation volume, containing six of them plus various addenda by the author and editor, is due out in paperback during March 2016.

More about the Gwendolyn Dahl story arc can be found here (contains spoilers).

26 October 2015

On Biblicalism, school of literary criticism

A preliminary overview

Jonnie Comet
26 October 2015

Biblicalism is the school of criticism devoted to the study of a work of literature as viewed through its deliberate or incidental relationship to a monotheistic belief system.

The criticism neither advocates nor condemns any particular religion or denomination but seeks to explicate a given literary from a Bible-based perspective, evaluating examples, both explicit and implied, within the work and drawing the effectiveness of the author’s presentation of Biblical themes through the work.

Many public-school and university instructors in literature neglect to consider such a viewpoint even though its relevance-- indeed, often, its primacy-- to the work is obvious. A prime example may be the novel Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, herself the daughter of an Anglican priest. The novel is, by design and in effect, a parable about the power of conscious, Christian virtue in overcoming temptation and in redeeming others. All of Jane’s decisions throughout the book are grounded in her own native faith; the reasons for her sufferings are grounded in the failure of others to observe such precepts as each of them have been taught by his or her own faith. The first-person narrator consistently uses Biblical references both to illustrate and to defend the principal concepts.

It can be contended that, neglecting an examination of conspicuous and vital Biblical principles, especially by instructors either unprepared intellectually or restricted by a comprehensive school’s repressive, secular agenda, no comprehension of the work as a whole can be fully realised. Biblicalism is an appropriate approach in the study of ostensibly secular works such as those of romanticism, naturalism, postmodernism and the gothic, especially as a means to uncover counter-concepts typically left unexplored in most literture courses as taught at comprehensive secondary schools and at state universities.


Good examples of English-language literature to which the criticism may be applied include:
  • Agnes Grey (Anne Brontë)
  • Pamela; or: Virtue Rewarded (Samuel Richardson)
  • Pamela; or; Virtue Reclaimed (Jonnie Comet)
  • Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift)
  • Oroonoko; or The Royal Slave (Aphra Behn)
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy)
  • Maggie; Girl of the Streets (Stephen Crane)
  • ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • The Italian (Anne Radcliffe)
  • Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

For further reading, see

The Absolutist, online here

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12 August 2015

from Yahoo! Answers:

Books for teenagers are not works of art, they are products designed for a market. Discuss-?

It's all sexy vampires or glamorising suicide/death or spies (genre fiction, generally) to appeal to the stereotypical teenage brain and one series is much like another, all to get $$, movies etc.


Just because they are successful in the market, does not mean they were designed for it. It also does not mean the author only had money on their mind when they wrote it.

I'm sure some of them perhaps saw an opportunity, knew what the market needed (or what would sell), and wrote a book based on the success rate of others.

This however does not lessen the challenge that is writing a book. Regardless what an author decides to write about, it's not easy. It still takes time and determination with the knowledge that there could be no payout in the end anyways. Writing is art, regardless of the topic and whether or not certain individuals appreciate it.

Furthermore, this occurrence in which you see a huge fluctuation of similar novels being published around the same time after successful sales in that genre, are not limited to teen fiction. 

Jonnie Comet:

I'm going to agree with and disagree with Hazel's response. Just because they are successful in the market doesn't mean they were NOT designed for it. There's not much difference between a book being successful as literature and one being successful in the market. Personally I prefer the former; but maybe that's why I'm broke.

The philosophical definition of 'art' contains two major elements:
1. All art must be deliberate. It is done on purpose. Accidents are not art. Works of nature are not art. Art is what Man creates; Nature is what God creates. This is the classical Renaissance definition and, to those who are intellectually mature, this still stands up.

2. All art must make a statement. This is its purpose. It doesn't matter what the statement is, so long as it attempts to make a point about something-- really, anything. This is included in the twofold purpose of all literature and art-- 'to delight and instruct', or 'to educate and entertain'. As entertaining as all art is, it is merely a pretty picture or a chanted mantra without a purpose. Mere aesthetics is not art.

Now look at the teens' and children's books. Does the vampire story entertain you? Was it written deliberately (as opposed to by accident)? Does it have a message, attempting to make a point about something? No matter how banal, no matter if you disagree with it, no matter if you can't stand its style, genre, author's haircut or anything else, if it fulfils these basic criteria it is, essentially art. Taste isn't the issue-- purpose is.

Don't cloud the issue by contending it's designed to make money. There are many ways to make money. Making pipes makes money. Paving roads makes money. Reporting news makes money. None of these are art unless they fit the above definition. Literature that makes money is still literature. Maybe it's just distasteful literature.

(NO; journalism in its strictest, properest essence is only facts reporting. It is NOT 'art' per se.)

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