EBH: C.S. Lewis College to begin Classes in 2012

In case you haven’t heard yet, the C.S. Lewis Foundation, along with corporate sponsor Hobby Lobby, is opening the C.S. Lewis College on the campus of Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. Plans are currently underway for the college to begin classes in Fall 2012 pending accreditation. The vision for the college, according to the official website, is that it will “be a fully accredited Christian institution of Great Books and Visual and Performing Arts.” The college hopes to attract “mere Christians” of various backgrounds to study and advance scholarship on Lewis and his fields of interest.

 I am really looking forward to seeing what the course of study will be like at the C.S. Lewis college. My poor students tolerate all my Lewis references, and one dear creature suggested I make my Milton, Spenser, and the Chronicles of Narnia required reading in ENG 111 (shudder! I had a colleague who tried using The Abolition of Man  in a Freshman Orientation class, with predictably dismal results), but I am intrigued to see what courses and texts the college will use.

  And, in a world where academe is constantly struggling to retain relevance, I wonder what a person will do with a degree from this college, which sounds just delightful, but not terribly practical. (In The Magician’s Nephew, Lewis wrote that witches are “terribly practical”; guilty as charged, I suppose, lead me to the stake. I’ve spent years helping students to enjoy writing but also showing them that it is a practical skill as they study to be nurses or  law enforcement officers.) [Read more…]

Potter Tales for Fighting Depression? Works for Me

An Australian psychologist thinks reading Harry Potter is a great way to introduce ideas about hope and how to deal with mental illness and has written a book called Harry Potter Power on the subject. Read all about it. Reminds me of the 2001 Associated Press article, ‘Harry Potter and the Shrinks.’

Psychologists as a rule do not believe the soul, usually called “mind,” has specific faculties as did Plato, Aristotle, and the Church Fathers (i.e. Western Civilization up to and including Freud). They have trouble, consequently, with the Eliade-Lewis-and-Ruskin inspired notion that readers respond to stories about these same faculties more profoundly than they do other tales. You’d think, though, that the alchemical symbolism, the synchronicity of cartharsis in reader and story subject, and the remarkable transference involved that engages and to some degree transforms the serious reader would draw psychological study and attention beyond clinical tricks.

I trust if any readers find an article by a psychologist on either of these subjects as it relates to Harry Potter and the profound hold Ms. Rowling’s novels have on readers of all ages around the world that you’ll share it. Please suggest the topic to any graduate students in psychology you know, too. Call it ‘Faculty Psychology, Soul Triptychs, and the Alchemical Magic of Reading: Plato and Dostoevsky to Star Wars and Harry Potter.’

‘Alchemists Everywhere,’ Part 2, a Pubcast Discussion with Travis Prinzi at The Hog’s Head

Thank you, Elizabeth, for keeping things jumping here at HogwartsProfessor in my absence! I enjoyed reading your posts in Oklahoma City, in Sikeston, Missouri, and in Moline/Rock Island, Illinois, this past week. I worry that you’ve raised the bar here significantly both in terms of frequency in posting and the quality of the pieces put up; the Substitute Teacher is always much better than the bumbling absentee (ask Hagrid!). I’ll do my best to raise my game this week lest the All-Pros summon Dolores Umbridge for a review…

Tomorrow I’ll share some thoughts from my trip and about an observation made by an Augustana College co-ed about the last three chapters of Deathly Hallows that left me slapping my forehead. Tonight, though, I just want to say “Hi!” and “Thank you, Elizabeth!” and “What do you think of the explanation I give to the question of why alchemy is so pervasive in contemporary best selling fiction?” You can hear that explanation — that we are materialists with spiritual longing — in the second part of my discussion with Travis Prinzi about literary alchemy at the Hog’s Head, PubCast #79. I spoke on this subject at the C. S. Lewis Conference in Oklahoma City and at Augustana College while opening up Lewis’ Space Trilogy and Meyers’ Twilight books.

I want to believe this answer touches on the heart of why we read, that is, ‘what we get out of reading’ and why books do what they do for us, in a profound way and I look forward to your comments and correction about this alchemical thesis.

EBH: Philly-area Potter Fans Needed for Research

A student at Temple University is working on a Youth Cultures paper, and would like to interview Potter readers, but is unable to attend the next  Potterdelphians meetup; therefore,  she asked that people interested in being  interviewed email her directly. If you would like to contact her, please email Andrea,  Potterdelphia Ravenclaw Prefect,  who will pass along her contact information.
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EBH: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ as Seen from a Traditional Catholic’s Perspective

Welcome, welcome to another guest this week. Sayf Bowlin is a Catholic seminarian and fan of the science fiction / fantasy genre who enjoys the interplay between faith, reason and pop culture. He has graciously sent along his insights on the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for our conversation.  Thanks for helping me with this subbing gig, Sayf!–Elizabeth

Percy Jackson and the Olympians:

My Two Drachmas: Some thoughts on the Series from a Catholic Perspective

by  Sayf Bowlin, KCHS

When I was in middle school, I read ravenously, so much so that my bus driver used to call me “the Professor.”  One of the subjects which I liked to read was Greek mythology. In my reading, I remember coming across a book in the school library which had an interesting conclusion.  It said that at some point in the history of Greece, the Christians came with their crucifixes and drove the Greek gods away – but they were waiting until the day they could return.  At the time, I thought this was very clever and liked the fact that it took Christianity seriously (so I thought), acknowledging that true worship of God banishes all idolatry (or so I thought).  Another book I saw recently in a book store concluded with the proclamation that the gods “are still with us.”  It would appear that this is the case, at least per Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

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