EBH: The Hogwarts Professor Will Be At Pace University Friday April 30—Mark your Calendars!

If you don’t happen to live in the Midwest and can’t get to any of the fantastic programs John will be presenting over the next several days, don’t worry: he’s coming back east. On April 30, he will be at Pace University to sign copies of Spotlight as part of their Twilight-themed afternoon and evening. Nancy Reagin, editor of Twilight and History, will also be featured and will sign books. Knowing John and Nancy, it will be an absolutely super evening and well worth a visit to the big apple (very appropriate for a Twilight talk)!

Here is the official invite: [Read more…]

John Goes on April Speaking Tour – and an Over-Qualified Guest Hogwarts Professor Fills In!

I’ve been away from HogwartsProfessor for a few weeks to get ready for Pascha (Christos Anesti!) and to prepare all the talks I’ll be doing around the country this month. I won’t be here this next week but I found a replacement that will make you hope I never come back, by name Elizabeth Baird Hardy, author of Milton, Spenser and the Chronicles of Narnia: Literary Sources for the C.S. Lewis Novels, and a contributor to the just released Twilight and History (ed. Nancy Reagin). A Harry Potter, Narnia, Spencer, Hunger Games, and Twilight wonk rolled into one and a real world Professor to boot! Thank you, Prof. Hardy, for taking the helm here. I’m looking forward to your posts!

My speaking schedule next week and the topics I’ll be discussing are listed after the jump. Please introduce yourself if you make it to any of them! [Read more…]

‘Twilight’ Dissed by ‘Focus on the Family’?

Chuck Colson, once Watergate conspirator, now Evangelical Christian spokesman and leader,  endorsed the Harry Potter series on his nationally distributed radio program, BreakPoint. He gave a big thumbs-up in November, 1999, at the release of Prisoner of Azkaban to the magic of the books, their  morality, and the opening Ms. Rowling created to the tradition of Christian ‘High Fantasy’ in English Literature.  Legend has it that one of the more significant supporters of his Prison Ministry programs called to say he was withdrawing his support if Mr. Colson didn’t retract his Potter endorsement — and retract he did, first with a brief radio announcement and eventually with a full scale warning to parents, the position he maintains today. (A sample of the negative feedback Mr. Colson received in 1999 can be found here.)

I think we’re seeing something similar in recent comments on a Focus on the Family radio program about Twilight. Let’s take a quick look at the Focus history of Twilight reviews, the backlash from Conservative Christians (TM), and the response of a literature professor to the consequent back-pedaling on the radio. [Read more…]

Potter Pundits Live at Pace University! The Video

See the video recording here and read about it at the Hog’s Head.

The short version is “It was a lot of fun.” I am very grateful to friends at The Leaky Cauldron (Melissa), The Group That Shall Not Be Named (Jonathon), and Pace University (Prof. Limbach), as well as to Travis Prinzi and James Thomas, my fellow Pundits, for setting up the event and making it as enjoyable and edifying as it was.

‘Landscape With Dragons – and Angels’

Stratford Caldecott, author of Secret Fire: The Spiritual Vision of J. R. R. Tolkien, provides the perfect antidote to the excesses of Michael O’Brien in his explanation of “Finding the Wise Imagination in Children’s Literature.” It speaks a Thomistic and Aristotelian language where I prefer Coleridge but it is about the Imagination as an edifying human faculty when oriented to the spiritual and I cannot recommend it highly enough.