Cover image for Reading Harry Potter : critical essays
Reading Harry Potter : critical essays
Anatol, Giselle Liza, 1970-
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2003.
Physical Description:
xxv, 217 pages ; 25 cm.
Archetypes and the unconscious in Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock and Dogsbody / Alice Mills -- Harry Potter and the magical looking glass : reading the secret life of the preadolescent / Lisa Damour -- Harry Potter and the acquisition of knowledge / Lisa Hopkins -- Safe as houses : sorting and school houses at Hogwarts / Chantel Lavoie -- Harry and hierarchy : book banning as a reaction to the subversion of authority / Rebecca Stephens.

Harry Potter's schooldays : J.K. Rowling and the British boarding school novel / Karen Manners Smith -- Accepting mudbloods : the ambivalent social vision of J.K. Rowling's fairy tales / Elaine Ostry -- Hermione and the house-elves : the literary and historical contexts of J.K. Rowling's antislavery campaign / Brycchan Carey -- Flying cars, floo powder, and flaming torches : the hi-tech, low-tech world of of wizardry / Margaret J. Oakes -- Cruel heroes and treacherous texts : educating the reader in moral complexity and critical reading in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books / Veronica L. Schanoes -- Harry Potter and the rule of law : the central weakness of legal concepts in the wizard world / Susan Hall -- Fallen empire : exploring ethnic otherness in the world of Harry Potter / Giselle Liza Anatol -- Class and socioeconomic identity in Harry Potter's England / Julia Park -- Cinderfella : J.K. Rowling's wily web of gender / Ximena Gallardo-C. and C. Jason Smith.
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Item Holds
PR6068.O93 Z84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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J. K. Rowling achieved astounding commercial success with her series of novels about Harry Potter, the boy-wizard who finds out about his magical powers on the morning of his eleventh birthday. The books' incredible popularity, and the subsequent likelihood that they are among this generation's most formative narratives, call for critical exploration and study to interpret the works' inherent tropes and themes. The essays in this collection assume that Rowling's works should not be relegated to the categories of pulp fiction or children's trends, which would deny their certain influence on the intellectual, emotional, and psychosocial development of today's children. The variety of contributions allows for a range of approaches and interpretive methods in exploring the novels, and reveals the deeper meanings and attitudes towards justice, education, race, foreign cultures, socioeconomic class, and gender.

Following an introductory discussion of the Harry Potter phenomenon are essays considering the psychological and social-developmental experiences of children as mirrored in Rowling's novels. Next, the works' literary and historical contexts are examined, including the European fairy tale tradition, the British abolitionist movement, and the public-school story genre. A third section focuses on the social values underlying the Potter series and on issues such as morality, the rule of law, and constructions of bravery.

Author Notes

GISELLE LIZA ANATOL is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she teaches courses in Caribbean, African-American, multiethnic U.S., and children's literature. She was awarded the Conger-Gabel Teaching Professorship for 2001-2004. She has published on the works of Paule Marshall, Audre Lorde, and Jamaica Kincaid.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Anatol (Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence) divides these 14 essays into three sections. The first covers "theories of child development," and contributors "explore[ ] the ways that we can see the psychological and social developmental experiences replicated in Rowling's texts": e.g., Alice Mills employs a Jungian approach in "Archetypes and the Unconscious in Harry Potter"; Lisa Damour uses a Freudian approach in "Harry Potter and the Magical Looking Glass." The second section looks at the literary and historical contexts in which Rowling grounds her work. Karen Manners Smith places Hogwarts in the British boarding school tradition, and another essay "compares technological development in the Muggle and magical spheres to interrogate the ways that science works in the so-called real world." The last section treats social values. Susan Hall reveals weaknesses in the legal concepts of the wizarding world; Anatol explores neocolonialism and xenophobia in the Harry potter series; Julia Park discusses class and socioeconomic identity in Harry's England (incidentally quoting Jack Zipes to demolish the rags-to-riches myth of Rowling, a college graduate forced to go on welfare). This book is a valuable addition to any library, though the reader may well feel the critical weaponry employed is rather too much for the subject matter. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above. G. B. Cross Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Giselle Liza AnatolAlice MillsLisa DamourLisa HopkinsChantel LavoieRebecca StephensKaren Manners SmithElaine OstryBrycchan CareyMargaret J. OakesVeronica L. SchanoesSusan HallGiselle Liza AnatolJulia ParkXimena Gallardo-C. and C. Jason Smith
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. ix
I. Reading Harry Potter through Theories of Child Development
1. Archetypes and the Unconscious in Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock and Dogsbodyp. 3
2. Harry Potter and the Magical Looking Glass: Reading the Secret Life of the Preadolescentp. 15
3. Harry Potter and the Acquisition of Knowledgep. 25
4. Safe as Houses: Sorting and School Houses at Hogwartsp. 35
5. Harry and Hierarchy: Book Banning as a Reaction to the Subversion of Authorityp. 51
II. Literary Influences and Historical Contexts
6. Harry Potter's Schooldays: J. K. Rowling and the British Boarding School Novelp. 69
7. Accepting Mudbloods: The Ambivalent Social Vision of J. K. Rowling's Fairy Talesp. 89
8. Hermione and the House-Elves: The Literary and Historical Contexts of J. K. Rowling's Antislavery Campaignp. 103
9. Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Low-Tech World of Wizardryp. 117
III. Morality and Social Values: Issues of Power
10. Cruel Heroes and Treacherous Texts: Educating the Reader in Moral Complexity and Critical Reading in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Booksp. 131
11. Harry Potter and the Rule of Law: The Central Weakness of Legal Concepts in the Wizard Worldp. 147
12. The Fallen Empire: Exploring Ethnic Otherness in the World of Harry Potterp. 163
13. Class and Socioeconomic Identity in Harry Potter's Englandp. 179
14. Cinderfella: J. K. Rowling's Wily Web of Genderp. 191
Selected Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 211
About the Contributorsp. 215