Archives for January 2013

Shut up, ladies?

A writer friend of mine sent me this link to another female writer’s blog, where she has a post about the disrespect female writers get compared to men, from both genders.  Given that the bulk of Hogpro posts are about series authored by women (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, and I hope that Divergent will eventually get equal time!), I thought it would be interesting to discuss.  Hey, she starts with Jane Austen…

So, what do you think?  Does the “Shut up, ladies” phenomenon exist?  If so, is the Hogpro site a refuge from it?  If anything, we have the opposite problem…  while some great YA male-authored series have been brought up here (Percy Jackson, Chaos Walking) they never have sparked quite the same level of discussion as the “chick lit.”

Mail Bag: Iconological Criticism, Transcendent Meaning, ‘Soul Triptych’ Origin, Nine ‘Classics’ Questions, and 22 November

Question and Answers with the Hogwarts Professor! Names and places have been effaced; the letters are otherwise as received. Please write out your better answers in the comment boxes below and send your questions to John at HogwartsProfessor dot com for the HogPro All-Pros to think about —

Subject: Question concerning Iconological Literary Criticism mentioned in Harry Potter’s Bookshelf

Hello Dr. Granger,

My name is XXX and I am writing because I am currently reading “Harry Potter’s Bookshelf: The Great Books Behind the Hogwarts Adventures” and am interested in learning more about what you call “Iconological Literary Criticism”.

I am a masters student at YYY Divinity School, and am writing my masters thesis on ambiguity in Hebrew Narrative.  Needless to say, I have been steeped in readings in literary criticism, particularly indeterminacy of texts (Wolfgang Isler)  which seems to have given birth to the idea of reader-responsibility in gap filling, etc.  I am very interested in the idea of Iconological readings, the author’s goal as the reader’s edifying transformation rather than entertainment, and it being the default model until the 20th century (what you discuss on pgs xv-xvi of your Introduction).

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MuggleNet Academia: Harry Potter as Comic Book Super Hero!

Washington and Lee University Associate Professor Christopher Gavaler is a novelist, short story writer and playwright by day in addition to his work in the classroom, but in his other worldly secret identity as ‘The Patron Saint of Super Heroes‘ he champions the serious reading of that lowest of genre writing, the super hero comic book.

Actually, he does that in the classroom, too, believe it or not, but I think you get my point.

Prof Gavaler joined me. Corentin Faniel of St. Andrews, and MuggleNet’s Keith Hawk to discuss his insights about the Hogwarts Saga when read as a comic book super hero piece, Read his blog post on the subject first and then listen in to a rollicking discussion of everything from Harry’s super powers and secret identity to what The Harry Potter Alliance and the Ku Klux Klan have in common (a lot more than you’d think, I’m guessing!). Voldemort and the greatest of all Super Villians? Oh, yeah. And Northrup Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism as well.

It was a real pleasure talking with Prof Gavaler about what makes stories work and how the power of Harry Potter and the best in comic book fiction relate to one another.


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Reclaiming the “Discarded Image”: Guest Review of Dr. Monika Hilder’s The Feminine Ethos in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia

Last year, I had the great honor of writing the preface for a new and fascinating book by a delightful scholar. Unfortunately, since I wrote the Preface, it might be in poor taste for me to write the glowing review I would like post so that everyone would check out this fantastic contribution to Lewis Studies. So instead, I recruited my friend and fellow Narnian, the brilliant Ralph Lentz, to review the book. He produced this amazing essay, which I am proud to share. I believe his talents may be just as useful in English as they are in the History Department. We may steal him yet. Enjoy!

Reclaiming the “Discarded Image”:
Monika B. Hilder’s The Feminine Ethos in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia
A Theological Review by Ralph E. Lentz II, Appalachian State University

C. S. Lewis wrote, by his faith and his studies, from a pre-Modern thought-world that was not schizophrenic—from a world that did not divide faith and reason, the natural and supernatural, fact and value. As a Medievalist, Lewis had digested the Whole, from Thomas Aquinas’ notion that grace perfects nature, to Nicholas of Cusa’s idea of the “coincidence of opposites.” In her brilliant new book The Feminine Ethos in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia (Peter Lang, 2012), Monika B. Hilder reveals Lewis’s dedication to this pre-Modern, orthodox Christian vision of an integrated world of beautiful paradox. And, following Lewis, she does it in a wonderfully imaginative and subversive way by focusing on what she calls “theological feminism” (12, et passim.). Through her analysis of all seven books of the Narnia series, Hilder demonstrates how Lewis, far from being chauvinist and misogynistic (as some critics have charged), actually challenges the pagan conception of power based on force and the twisted image of sexuality that it supports. In contrast, Lewis’s use of “theological feminism” points to “another City”[1] where the “sword between the sexes” has been cast away, and where the contraries of Male and Female can become one without confusion or contradiction (cf. Genesis 2:24). A model of careful analysis, comprehensive scholarship, and eloquence, the book itself merits a substantial review—particularly in light of its theological implications. Hence the purpose of the present essay.
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Katniss and Bella Fight to the Death in Meadow!

And the bad news from Forks just keeps getting worse. The fourth fire since November has burnt down a building in the hometown of the Cullens and Swans, this one the big garage where they kept the fire truck… Between the deaths in the meadow at the start of the Hunger Games on the Olympic Peninsula, look for an exodus from Forks soon.

Hat tips to Dave for the Forks news and to Sharon for the video!