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Author Topic: Harry Potter, Politics and a Gesture to Multiculuralism
CalgaryPigeon
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posted 22 July 2005 09:46 PM      Profile for CalgaryPigeon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The variety of characters with non-Anglo names seems to be increasing. But that aside a number of reviewers seem to wonder why adults read it. Well of course part of the reason is that many adults don't read at much more than middle school level. But the other surely is that it is good vs evil escapism that, like most such, eschews politics and countries. They appear as do adults in Peanuts as voices that are there but not really quite real.

In a review vein it of course not classic literature. But people vote with their feet and they are marching off to Rowling.

Sorry about the overly quick topic name

[ 22 July 2005: Message edited by: CalgaryPigeon ]


From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Nikita
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posted 22 July 2005 09:51 PM      Profile for Nikita     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CalgaryPigeon:
But that aside a number of reviewers seem to wonder why adults read it. Well of course part of the reason is that many adults don't read at much more than middle school level.

I just love sweeping generalizations.

Just because an adult likes Harry Potter means they are semi-literate? Harumph. I think that's bullshit, personally. The Harry Potter books are very well written, better than a lot of the adult oriented books out there (and I don't mean porno).


From: Regina | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
CalgaryPigeon
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posted 22 July 2005 09:56 PM      Profile for CalgaryPigeon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Odd- the words "part" and "many" surely defeat the "sweeping claim". After all part is not "sole" and "many" can be few. I was actually thinking of some snotty comments published in either the Guardian or in the BBC review section. I read fast and well, and even have slogged through Ulysses- not happily. It is an easy read. It is fun if you read it as such. It makes us return to a simpler world.

Alas it is not, unfortunately, as well written given the vocabulary constraints, as one might have hoped. It is taken to be very long but the way in which it is paginated makes me wonder about the word count. I am reasonably sure that she is not so prolix as Dickens. She is not paid by the word.

[ 22 July 2005: Message edited by: CalgaryPigeon ]

[ 22 July 2005: Message edited by: CalgaryPigeon ]


From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 22 July 2005 10:11 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think there's a lot of snobbery out there towards the Harry Potter books. No-one makes great claims about them being important works of literature, although they are great children's books, but there seems to be a lot of people who like to take potshots at Rowling and her work. I think that's largely an elitist impulse from people who naturally react against something that achieves a level of popularity such as Harry Potter has achieved. I don't operate on that level, although I certainly did when I was younger - I am very glad the Harry Potter books have had this level of success, that success is good for publishing, good for literacy, and good for our culture as a whole. Nowadays the division between 'high' and 'low' culture is much less solid, and I think that's a good democratic development - I may have enjoyed reading Dostoyevsky and Camus, but I equally enjoyed Harry Potter and other children's works of that ilk, such as CS Lewis' Narnia novels. It's a near-impossibility to judge the value of such culture, as the value is individual to each reader, it is what each reader takes from the text. I took a lot from Harry Potter.
From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
CalgaryPigeon
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posted 22 July 2005 10:16 PM      Profile for CalgaryPigeon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think I edited my post as you wrote. On my quick initial read I think I agree, but actually might go further. It is surely a boon that many children who would never read anything now read this. And it is surely a boon that one is not reading rote. One is not expected to take a text as containing rules to be followed. I think you detect here my utter antipathy to the use of any "sacred text" or "sacred stories"
From: Calgary | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 22 July 2005 11:08 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If Snape was a real person, he'd be making pointed, snyde remarks about how the Harry Potter series wasn't literature.

The story is the thing. What do we have in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? Revenge, betrayal, love, hate and loss.

Just what you'd find in the Illiad, or the Epic of Gilgamesh.

So, Rowlings manages to take the old basic stories and wrap them up in an imaginative way-- imaginative enough to almost single handedly save a generation of western civilization from never knowing the book as "cool" or interesting media.

The people who go on about what is or isn't literature, and make people feel somehow unworthy for enjoying a book that has stuff happen in it are the ones killing the book as media.

[ 22 July 2005: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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