A Rowling Thank You: “Entering Literary Worlds”

I received a letter this morning from the 17 year old webmaster of a Potter fan web site in Argentina (Redflu.com). He attached a letter from Ms. Rowling in response to one of his own, a letter which apologized for taking so long to respond and which closed this way:

“We do not enter literary worlds; they enter us, so I hope very much that Harry’s world will be with you forever, as it will be with me. I shall always treasure the readers who were generous enough to share their feelings with me in the way that you have, and I thank you, again, for taking the trouble to write.”

No doubt a sincere sentiment. What I found worthy of note, of course, was her almost throw-away observation about “literary worlds.” She reverses the conventional understanding of reader-entering-text to assert that world-enters-reader. I think this is worthy of attention for understanding her books rather than just “understanding what Ms. Rowling thinks” (the ever swelling celebrity focus within Potter studies, alas) for three reasons: [Read more…]

Hogwarts Professor in UChicago’s Great Hall

Toni Gras snapped this picture of my daughter Sarah and myself at the University of Chicago’s ‘Great Hall’ (Hutchinson Commons) after my Halloween talk last Friday in Hitchcock Hall. I’ll write more on my little Midwest Tour tomorrow. Until then, one photo (after the bump) and one Fandom survey request courtesy of Dave the Longwinded at Hog’s Head. [Read more…]

Potter Fails to Cast Spell over Richard Dawkins

No surprises here: from the Telegraph, an article titled “Harry Potter Fails to Cast Spell over Professor Richard Dawkins.” I’ve just flown in from my Midwest tour and I’ll write more when my arms aren’t so tired.

I think we can file Professor Dawkins’ ideas about children’s literature under the “if the Fool does not laugh, it is not the Way” heading.

Audio Files: Understanding Harry Potter 101

I leave tomorrow at 4 am for my five day tour of Iowa and Illinois (for itinerary click here). I will be talking about my HogPro friends at every stop and inviting new friends to join us — but I won’t be here to add new posts. Not to mention Halloween blogging friends wanting to know more about How Harry Cast His Spell! [Read more…]

Chicago Maroon Interview Questions

Marcella Delaurentiis, a student reporter for the University of Chicago’s newspaper, The Maroon, sent me a list of questions last night for an article she is writing about my talk there on Halloween. I attach my answers here with the letter in which they are imbedded. Your comments and corrections, of course, are coveted. [Read more…]