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Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter (Pedagogy and Popular Culture) Hardcover – October 25, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"[Layton] explores that layer of existence that filters the social through the psychological, bringing clinical work and feminist theory together. Her book is a significant interlocutor too, and serves as introduction for a number of important feminist dialogues and debates, such as the relation between the personal and the political and between social constructionist versus identity-derived perspectives. Layton's text brings these many, sometimes contesting, perspectives together in an incisive and grounded exposition." - Kareen Ror Malone, Signs "I don't think it is an exaggeration to call this a work of intellectual virtuosity. Where some, myself included, grow impatient with postmodern theories, while nonetheless being influenced by the same social currents out of which these theories have sprung, others bury themselves in theory, seemingly losing touch with lived experience. Layton brings patience and passion to unraveling the knotty intellectual currents of meaning that both unify and separate these two areas of thought. Rather than come down on one side or the other of what she considers a false polarity, she shows how one can inform the other." - Sheila Bienenfeld, Women's Review of Books

From the Publisher

"DISCLAIMER: This book is not authorized, approved, licensed, or endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., or anyone associated with the Harry Potter books or movies."

Taylor and Francis Books US

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Product Details

  • Series: Pedagogy and Popular Culture
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415933730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415933735
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,535,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I joined the Harry Potter phenomenon late in the game. Book four had already been in circulation for over two years and at 25, I considered myself well above the normal reader age. However, once I picked up the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I was (no pun intended), spellbound. I spent the rest of that long summer weekend reading the remaining books. Since then, I have read each book in the series at least 20 times apiece. Somewhere in the middle of all the reading, I began to jot down notes, questions and observations I made- little items that I wanted to ponder afterwards. Questions such as: Why did Professor Dumbledore so prize the individual merits of courage and "sheer nerve"? Did Hermione and other female students ever experience gender discrimination at Hogwarts? What defined the social structure of the wizard world (surely one exists as is evident by the influence of the well-to-do Malfoy family)? What is it about the Harry Potter books that have such universal appeal? And most importantly, what lessons can be learned?
Shortly after Pottermania began, several books appeared on the market dedicated to analyzing the phenomenon. Some addressed broad themes, while others disseminated every detail of the book, trying to decipher each and every meaning of every word of J.K. Rowling's works. Among these is Harry Potter's World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives, a collection of essays written by professors and graduate students.
Harry Potter's World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives is by far the most comprehensive book of this genre.
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Format: Paperback
That was often the comment I received when I wrote my senior thesis last fall about the Harry Potter series. Specifically, I wrote a feminist criticism of the series exploring the ways in which Hermione resists and reaffirms gender stereotypes--"Miss Smarty Pants," "The Damsel in Distress," etc. Although I am a huge fan of this series (even my dog's name is Muggle), I couldn't believe that I was the only adult concerned about issues of gender, class, and so forth in the books. So imagine my delight upon finding this book...until I realized it wouldn't be published until January 2003, and I was presenting my thesis on December 13, 2002. Not only is this a well-presented and organized collection of essays from a variety of perspectives, but it is also edited by the outstanding & very generous Dr. Heilman. I wrote personally to her about my paper (and dilemma), and she provided to me the working & yet unpublished copy of her essay dealing with gender issues. Luckily, the book was released ahead of schedule so I was able to cite from her published version. My own experience with this book aside, I highly recommend it to Harry fans who would enjoy thoughtful academic discourse on the series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this book is much better than some Harry Potter books out there, because the articles are scholarly and well-informed, I didn't like it. Most of the articles are written from a sociological or "cultural studies" perspective. If you like that kind of thing, then you will like this volume. If you like psychological, allegorical or symbolic readings, then its not the right book for you. Most of the essays are on broad issues and don't go into the books in great detail. I found the academic scholarship to be very repetitive and predictable at times, with many people expounding the same ideas of what "postmodern" is. But some essays in it are great (Peter Appelbaum's for instance) and its worth getting, if you know what to expect.
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