Reading Harry Potter / Edition 1

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Overview

J. K. Rowling achieved astounding commercial success with her series of novels about Harry Potter, the boy-wizard who finds out about his magical powers on the morning of his eleventh birthday. The books' incredible popularity, and the subsequent likelihood that they are among this generation's most formative narratives, call for critical exploration and study to interpret the works' inherent tropes and themes. The essays in this collection assume that Rowling's works should not be relegated to the categories of pulp fiction or children's trends, which would deny their certain influence on the intellectual, emotional, and psychosocial development of today's children. The variety of contributions allows for a range of approaches and interpretive methods in exploring the novels, and reveals the deeper meanings and attitudes towards justice, education, race, foreign cultures, socioeconomic class, and gender.

Following an introductory discussion of the Harry Potter phenomenon are essays considering the psychological and social-developmental experiences of children as mirrored in Rowling's novels. Next, the works' literary and historical contexts are examined, including the European fairy tale tradition, the British abolitionist movement, and the public-school story genre. A third section focuses on the social values underlying the Potter series and on issues such as morality, the rule of law, and constructions of bravery.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

GISELLE LIZA ANATOL is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she teaches courses in Caribbean, African-American, multiethnic U.S., and children's literature. She was awarded the Conger-Gabel Teaching Professorship for 2001-2004. She has published on the works of Paule Marshall, Audre Lorde, and Jamaica Kincaid.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Archetypes and the Unconscious in Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock and Dogsbody 3
2 Harry Potter and the Magical Looking Glass: Reading the Secret Life of the Preadolescent 15
3 Harry Potter and the Acquisition of Knowledge 25
4 Safe as Houses: Sorting and School Houses at Hogwarts 35
5 Harry and Hierarchy: Book Banning as a Reaction to the Subversion of Authority 51
6 Harry Potter's Schooldays: J. K. Rowling and the British Boarding School Novel 69
7 Accepting Mudbloods: The Ambivalent Social Vision of J. K. Rowling's Fairy Tales 89
8 Hermione and the House Elves: The Literary and Historical Contexts of J. K. Rowling's Antislavery Campaign 103
9 Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Low-Tech World of Wizardry 117
10 Cruel Heroes and Treacherous Texts: Educating the Reader in Moral Complexity and Critical Reading in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Books 131
11 Harry Potter and the Rule of Law: The Central Weakness of Legal Concepts in the Wizard World 147
12 The Fallen Empire: Exploring Ethnic Otherness in the World of Harry Potter 163
13 Class and Socioeconomic Identity in Harry Potter's England 179
14 Cinderfella: J. K. Rowling's Wily Web of Gender 191
Selected Bibliography 207
Index 211
About the Contributors 215
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