The literary forefathers of 'Up'
What do Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World," J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," L. Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz" and Johanna Spyri's "Heidi" have in common? They're all progenitors -- grandparents? -- of the new movie "Up." As Jerry Griswold writes in our pages:
The mature, in fact, seem to suffer from the debilitating effects of kryptonite; they are victims of Heaviness. While children "play all day long" in J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," presumably their parents go to work or attend meetings. Indeed, the tragic moment in "Peter Pan" occurs near the end when the ever-youthful Peter comes to invite Wendy on another adventure and is shocked to find a gray-haired lady in the shadows; she can no longer fly, Wendy sadly explains, because "I am old."
His essay includes a heap of literary predecessors to "Up," many of which deal with youth and the kryptonite of adulthood.
Lightness has been so deeply threaded through children's literature that it must have been picked up by those writing for adults. But the only book I can think of that explicitly deals with it is Milan Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." What are some others?
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Image: Disney / Pixar