Whodunit? Harry Potter — In the Great Hall — With a Wand!

Those of you who love a Harry Potter themed podCast, head on over to Mugglenet Academia for a spirited and convivial conversation with Dolores Gordon-Smith, author of the Jack Haldean mysteries, about the influence of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers’ detective fiction on the Hogwarts Saga.

Mrs. Gordon-Smith, an Englishwoman with Irish mum, besides being an expert practitioner of the mystery writing craft (with a specialty in the set piece Drawing Room dramas of the inter bella period) is a lifetime reader and admirer of the Grand Dames of Detective Stories. And she knows her Harry Potter, too! Keith Hawk from MuggleNet and Sarah Granger, a rising fourth year student at the College of the University of Chicago join me and Dorothy for a romp through and review of each book in the series as a mystery piece.

For more on Sayers, Christie, and the meeting of Peter Wimsey, Hercule Poirot, and Harry’s friends at Hogwarts, there’s a chapter devoted to the subject in Harry Potter’s Bookshelf, a chapter I can recommend without blushing!

MuggleNet Academia PodCast: ‘The Law and Harry Potter’

The fourth MuggleNet Academia [MNA] podCast, a show that I co-host with MuggleNet’s Keith Hawk, is now available for uploading and for your Serious Reader critique! Here is how MuggleNet describes the Law show over at the program’s MNA page, with a list of links for the program right after:

The latest episode of MuggleNet Academia is now released for your listening and learning pleasure. Lesson 4: The Law and Harry Potter discusses the law in the Muggle World as it compares to the law as seen in the Wizarding World as well as how events in the Hogwarts Saga would be viewed in an American court room. [Read more…]

MuggleNet Academia: ‘Parseltongue, Gobbledegook, and Troll: On the Difficulties of Translating Harry Potter’ Show #3

My co-host at MuggleNet Academia, Keith Hawk, has written to let me know that our third show, this one on Potter translations, is up and available for downloading today. ‘Parseltongue, Gobbledegook, and Troll’ is something of a departure for us as this program is less academic per se — on the artistry and meaning of the books — as it is about the books as books and how they succeed or fail when translated into another language.

Our special guest is Josee LeBlanc, a Potter Pundit from Canada who works with government agencies and their French and English translation issues. Joining her as our student representative is Amanda Pavani from Brazil, a polyglut and Potter-phile of the first rank. From the show synopsis:

When we read the Harry Potter series, we notice them all. Those clever wordplays, alliterations, rich accents and meaningful last names Jo Rowling conjured up from the tip of her pen. Yet, while we sometimes pause to analyze the second or third meanings of Dumbledore’s name or marvel over how all those Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes inventions just seem to roll off your tongue (Canary Cream, Ton Tongue Toffee, etc.), most of us never think about the amount of work involved to translate it all into another language. In the case of alliterations, when the words don’t match in the target language, what should be translated: the sounds (Wimbourne Wasps) or the meaning? How do you translate Hagrid or Seamus’ accent? How about Fleur Delacour’s or Madame Maxime’s accents in French? And what about wordplays that can’t be translated literally; what should be done about those?

You can read more about the show here or download it immediately at this link. Please be sure to share your feedback at MuggleNet and let us know what subjects you’d like to explore and whom you’d like us to invite on as our guests!

Shows featuring Washington & Lee’s Suzanne Keen in a discussion of the Hogwarts Saga as Serious ‘Series’ fiction and Lawrence Unibersity’s Edmund Kern, author of The Wisdom of Harry Potter, on sex and gender issues in Harry Potter can be downloaded at iTunes here. Transcriptions available, too — Enjoy!