‘New Fairy Tales’ Published! Get Your Free Copy!

Hogwarts Professor John Patrick Pazdziora’s book, New Fairy Tales: Essays and Stories, a collection of both critical essays and original fantasy pieces that he edited with Defne Cizarca, is now in print and available for purchase as either a real or an e-Book. To mark the occasion of this important work, whose breadth and depth of critical reach is only matched by the challenging and rewarding contemporary fairy tales it features side by side, FairyTaleMagazine.com is giving away two copies of the book in a promotional exercise. Get thee hither, post haste!

Congratulations, John Patrick, on your PhD from St Andrews University (huzzah!) and the publication of this outstanding collection!

After-Action Report on James Madison University’s Replacing Wands with Quills Conference

On November 10-12, James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, hosted a diverse collection of Harry Potter scholars, including our own headmaster John Granger as the keynote speaker, and faculty members Louise Freeman, John Patrick Pazdziora, and Elizabeth Baird Hardy. It was a lovely event that bodes well for future gatherings. Follow me after the jump for my thoughts on the event. I hope my magical brethren will also chime in with their thoughts, especially on sessions I missed, since, unlike Hermione, I can’t be in two places at once.
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Calling Professor McGonagall…2012 Academic Conference in Scotland to Feature Hogwarts Professors

Those of you who hail from the Old World, or who have some frequent flyer points just begging to be used, don’t miss this fantastic opportunity coming up next year! The University of St. Andrews in Scotland is hosting a two-day academic conference to consider the literary depths of the Hogwarts adventures. A Brand of Fictional Magic: Imaginative Empathy in Harry Potter will bring together a wide variety of scholars, including our own Headmaster, John Granger, as a keynote speaker, along with Jessica Tiffin. One of our other HogPros, the esteemed John Patrick Pazdziora, is in charge of the paper proposals, so when you send yours in, I hear he likes Licorice Wands, so perhaps you should sneak in a couple! For the complete announcement and Call for Papers, follow the jump, and we hope many of you will be there next May! [Read more…]

There Be Dragons

[Editor’s Note: Welcome to the next title in the HogPro Book Club: C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. To get things started, Professor Pazdziora offers some reflections on literary and spiritual themes in the book. So, grab your copy and your reading memories, and get ready for a great series of challenging discussions on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.]

There Be Dragons

A Reader Remembers
The Voyage of the
Dawn Treader

I know nothing about cartography. So maybe that’s why it’s always seemed to me like a strange and mystical science. There’s poetry in maps. I stare at those squiggled lines and neat text—geological tortures reduced to splotches of ink—the Sahara to Yellow 5 and the Nile to Blue 47—and wonder: have the mapmakers really been there? Did they sketch this from memory? From travellers’ tales?
From dreams?

It’s no surprise, really, that maps are central to modern fantasy literature. Tolkien began it, of course, perhaps following the example of Rider Haggard and the researches of (ahem) Allan Quartermain, or the legendary map that sent Squire Trelawney and the good doctor on their ill-fated adventure.

Any edition of The Lord of the Rings is incomplete without a large foldout of Christopher Tolkien’s painstaking and perfect maps of the Shire, Middle-Earth, and Mordor. Bilbo Baggins began his adventure with a map, of course. A map that showed where the treasure was hidden, a map with a secret door. And on the edge of the map—at the end of the journey—was the dragon.

And so the mapmakers gave us the warning:

Here there be dragons.

That was the legend on the edges of maps, the signifier that admitted fear of the unknown. The ancient cartographers drew dragons around the boundaries of the world. The quarters inaccessible to human voyagers were realms of deathly peril. Sea Serpents. Giant Squid. Sirens. Kraken. And dragons.

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Prof. John Patrick Pazdziora: Worlds of Words

‘Welcome back to Hogwarts after our Christmas break! Before we tuck into our New Year’s Eve Eve Feast [editor’s note: Yes, Hogwarts is on the Julian Calendar], I wish to introduce our new Magical Language Arts Teacher, Professor John Patrick Pazdziora, on loan from nearby St. Andrew’s University, where he studies Muggle fantasy alongside our non-magical brethren. He will be filling the revived Lake Poets Chair in Literary Alchemy, long neglected, and his classes will be open to all those attempting the Eloquence and Imagination N.E.W.T. — although I must caution older student that you must have attained an Outstanding on your O.W.L. if you wish to take his Advanced Spell Composition class. I have asked him to give us a short talk tonight to introduce his research as we sup on soup and before the main courses are served. I give you Hogwarts Professor Pazdziora.”

Thank you, Headmaster. I am honoured both by the appointment and by the overwhelming kindness of your welcome. As I–like the rest of you–am far more interested in what we are about to eat than what I am about to say, I shall be brief to the point of near silence. You shall not–alas!–always be so fortunate when I speak.

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