Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Harry & Man at Yale

Does anyone else find this news a bit depressing?

Drawing on their expertise in theology, children’s literature, globalization studies and even the history of witchcraft, professors have been able to use Harry Potter to attract crowds of students eager to take on a disciplined study of the books.

We realize that nearly everyone but us has read the books, but does that mean a series written for children should be getting so much attention in universities? One can point out that C.S. Lewis’s children’s books get serious consideration, but Lewis wrote other works, too, and they articulated a clear philosophy that The Chronicles of Narnia illustrated. To my knowledge, Rowling's done no such thing.

Even if you don’t mind college students--including Ivy Leaguers!--studying Harry Potter, let's agree this comment is absurd: “What [Rowling's] really done is come up with a mode of captivating a whole generation...As an adult, you’ll be thinking, ‘What would Harry have done?’” WWHHD? I know people like to see Harry as a Christ figure, but that’s taking it a bit too far.

And by the way: if you’re an adult who aspires to act like a fictional adolescent wizard, seek professional help.

1 comment:

Signore L.E. said...

I read an article a couple of months ago about Stanford offering a course on Harry Potter; they had to turn students away. I suppose if colleges are going to offer courses on television shows, they might as well offer them on Harry Potter. But I also think the popularity of those books among adults is absurd; every time I see a grown-up reading one of those books in public (and its not an infrequent sight) I shake my head.