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Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays (Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture,) Hardcover – May 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0313320675 ISBN-10: 0313320675

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Here is more proof that almost everybody is wild about Harry--academics as well as the hundreds and thousands of children, parents, teachers, and librarians around the world who have been charmed by this young wizard-in-training. This sampling of scholarly essays will inform a thoughtful adult reader's appreciation of the Harry Potter books as literature and as a publishing phenomenon."-Virginia A. Walter Associate Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Information Studies

Book Description

The tropes and themes of J. K. Rowling's massively popular series are interpreted within the context of its audience.

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Product Details

  • Series: Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture, (Book 78)
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313320675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313320675
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Expertly compiled and deftly edited by Giselle Liza Anatol (Assistant Professor of English, University of Kanas - Lawrence), Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays is an impressive anthology of literary criticism draw from a variety of learned authors who all of whom regard J. K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter fantasy series as far more than mere popular culture pablum. Examining the Harry Potter works with regard to theories of child development, literary influences and historical contexts, and morality and social values, Reading Harry Potter is a multifaceted exploration of the Potter books as literature with lasting potential influence on both developing and mature minds today.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Quite simply, this is the book I will use as my primary resource to teach Harry Potter from now on. I teach both undergraduate and graduate English Education majors and plan to order this book for all of my Adolescent Literature sections this coming year. Not only are the essays interesting and diverse, they really show how many different ways a reader can think about a text. Most interesting, however, is how these very different essays (and authors) speak to one another. Overall, a really fine group of essays about some very important works.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Mendez on September 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is an amazing anthology of literary criticisms of Harry Potter books 1-4. It brings to the forefront Rowling's social agenda, the fairy tale genre, ambiguity between good and evil, etc. Something that I would like to see in the future are new essays, or these essays rewritten, by the same authors in light of surprising changes to some characters' development particularly with Snape in Book 6. Otherwise, this book is an amazing read and is thoroughly enlightening.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Bennett on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays by Giselle Liza Anatol is a collection of essays that analyze to a greater depth the world of Harry Potter. This collection of essays only covers the first three books of the series. This collection came out before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Reading Harry Potter Again is another series of essays from the same editor that came out after the Harry Potter series was finished. Even though the essay material is from the first three books of the Harry Potter series, Reading Harry Potter proved an excellent read. It was interesting to see the authors speculate on what would happen during the next books, especially having read them all prior to these essays.

Some essays of particular interest were "Harry and Hierarchy" by Rebecca Stephens. This essay discussed the controversy of book banning as it relates to the Harry Potter series. The series was compared to the Chronicles of Narnia series in terms of magic and fantasy. The article pointed out that there were not that many differences other than C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, was a pronounced Christian and J.K. Rowling was not. Because of this simple fact, Christians have argued for the banning of the Harry Potter series, when in fact the Chronicles of Narnia is no better.

Another interesting essay was "Harry Potter and the Rule of Law" by Susan Hall. "Harry Potter and the Rule of Law" was about how corrupt the government figures are in the wizarding world. It discussed how innocent people are thrown into jail all of the time and sometimes let go with merely an apology. Harry Potter is all about rebellion. Even the teachers at Hogwarts rebel against the government, while the students rebel against the teachers. It's a hierarchy of power.
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