Dan Brown has found his vein-of-gold from which he’s been mining hot selling novels and movies for years. INFERNO is his latest, already rising on the charts. So what is there about Brown’s stuff that always makes him a conversation starter, from school rooms to sports bars?
Some will shrug, “He’s a good read.” But so is Danielle Steele, yet few bother to analyze the mystical meanings of her soap opera narratives. Brown, instead, is tapping into that primeval part of our psyche which has been responding to the mystical from the days of the cave right up to the days of the Internet. No matter how rational and logical and empirical we have striven to become in these last 300 years of Western philosophy, somehow we can’t [or don’t wish to] get over our pull-the-covers-over-our-head fears of things that go bump in the night.
The question then is this. Where do we hear most such bumps in a Western culture which prides itself in its dismissal of all things magical and voodoo?
Dan knows the answer to that. As do scores of popular writers, horror movie studios and television vampire/zombie producers. Find and feature the strange. the bizarre. the unworldly. Among the choices the one that usually stands out the most strange, bizarre and unworldly is the Vatican. You know, that 2000 year old, cloak & dagger religion of crucifixions, apparitions, miracles and exorcisms that almost always makes the ideal setting for your plot. Notice how many times Dan places his action in the murky corridors of some eerie Gothic cathedral, or hidden vault behind some convent, or deep in the uncharted darkness of some Catholic cemetery.
What’s behind all this miasma of long ago Medievalism…? Think of it this way. How else can a perfectly educated Western sophisticate give secret vent to their repressed suspicions that there actually may be something to those old discarded ideas that our species is not the only or even the highest form of life in the cosmos. Be honest, Dan, don’t you harbor some of the very same suspicions….?
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