MuggleNet Academia 16: Lev Grossman about Harry Potter

Lev Grossman joined the MuggleNet Academia crew to talk about his latest book, The Magician King, and the future of serious reading of the Hogwarts Saga. Here’s a synopsis of this wild and wide-ranging program:

‘Harry Potter and The Magicians with Lev Grossman’

Best selling author and noted literary critic Lev Grossman sits down with Keith, John, and students from the US and UK for a talk about the elephant still in the literary living room, the Harry Potter books of Joanne Rowling. Mr. Grossman shares his own encounter with the books (as well as a few notes from his 2005 TIME interview with the author), how his own view of what was possible in writing and what questions should be asked were affected by that reading, and how Rowling’s Hogwarts Saga has altered the expectations of readers and the ambitions of other writers. He answers questions about the remarkable literary fantasies, The Magicians and The Magician King, to include an explanation of how Lev’s magical Brakebills College resembles and differs with Hogwarts — and the idea that the magic of Lev’s world within a world is something of a parable about writers — to include a mage who seems a picture of Rowling the outlier. Lev shares his enthusiasm about Casual Vacancy and the MNetAc group discuss how Rowling’s “political fable” echoes Grossman’s cross genre artistry in its black comedy and implicit criticism of how we imagine the world. One of America’s leading novelists and top drawer literary critic talks about the books and writer that re-made our ideas of what reading was about — this is a show you don’t want to miss!

Check it out by clicking here and listening in! Many thanks to Mr. Grossman for the lively and challenging conversation!

For those interested in the Alan Jacobs piece about Tolkien criticism I mentioned in the discussion, it can be read here.

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