And for all that she is gifted enough in devising popular scenarios, the words on the page are flat. I think it was Verlaine who said that he could never write a novel because he would have to write, at some point, something like "the count walked into the drawing-room" - not a scruple that can have bothered JK Rowling, who is happy enough writing the most pedestrian descriptive prose.
Here, from page 324 of The Order of the Phoenix, to give you a typical example, are six consecutive descriptions of the way people speak. "...said Snape maliciously," "... said Harry furiously", " ... he said glumly", "... said Hermione severely", "... said Ron indignantly", " ... said Hermione loftily". Do I need to explain why that is such second-rate writing?
If I do, then that means you're one of the many adults who don't have a problem with the retreat into infantilism that your willing immersion in the Potter books represents. It doesn't make you a bad or silly person. But if you have the patience to read it without noticing how plodding it is, then you are self-evidently someone on whom the possibilities of the English language are largely lost.
This is the kind of prose that reasonably intelligent nine-year-olds consider pretty hot stuff, if they're producing it themselves; for a highly-educated woman like Rowling to knock out the same kind of material is, shall we say, somewhat disappointing.
>>7585144 Bloom is full of shit on this one. How can you assume that a kid wont go into better things once interest is peaked? has he ever heard of curiosity? self betterment? HP was only one of the books that got me into reading. this stupid baseless assumption makes me think bloom might be full of shit on many other topics, because he might just assume dumb shit.
>>7585282 He is making a generalisation. Stop making your personal experience the rule, we all know loads of people who've read Harry Potter and still consider it the greatest thing. Those aren't the ones who'll be willing to read The Dead Souls
>>7585282 >How can you assume that a kid wont go into better things once interest is peaked >interest is peaked >h.p. fans
But seriously, have you ever heard a harry potter fan tell you that Rowling is a shit writer? I haven't. If the books had the kind of effect you described, that's what they would say. Instead it's more often exalted as a literary masterpiece.
This idea of harry potter as maybe not the best piece of writing, but a "gateway book" is stupid; all harry potter does is misrepresent what good, imaginative writing is.
>>7585321 i think people get confused thinking if they call jkr a bad writer than theyre disparaging the series.
but yes, big hp nerd that realizes jkr pretty much sucks. good storytelling, bad writing. but thats only if you thinking about something that is ultimately just entertainment too hard. and thats why i stay away from places like lit.
its not a gateway book at all, its a one and done. or people just move to reading another similar 'ya fantasy' series.
>>7585253 I believe he suggests that harry potter fanship reflects an infantilization of imagination due to its fairly juvenile themes and bleh imagery, and a false association of HPs popularity with genuine greatness. In other words, people won't venture from a comfort zone in which they're so deeply entrenched.
>If I do, then that means you're one of the many adults who don't have a problem with the retreat into infantilism that your willing immersion in the Potter books represents
It's no coincidence that the people who love Harry Potter well into adulthood have huge overlaps with the people who want there to be safe spaces with play-doh and puppy videos (!) on college campuses, that they can retreat to if they encounter ideas that are uncomfortable to them.
>>7585321 >all harry potter does is misrepresent what good, imaginative writing is.
this is the main, most important thrust of bloom's argument. some of you may recall the thread on a passage from planescape: torment last week; that passage was guilty of the same exact thing. pastiche of good writing which actually functions to make good writing appear to the reader to be higher on the learning curve than it is, thus breaking their morale and making of them lowest common denominator consumers.
>>7585144 I read the first few books and that never stopped me from reading heavier literature. Real talk, the only victims of Bloom's description are young girls. From the ones I've had the displeasure of meeting, it seemed the more fanatical they were about the series, the more likely they were to be reading solely YA books (think John Green, trash like Stephanie Meyer as well).
The ultimate model for Harry Potter is "Tom Brown's School Days" by Thomas Hughes, published in 1857. The book depicts the Rugby School presided over by the formidable Thomas Arnold, remembered now primarily as the father of Matthew Arnold, the Victorian critic-poet. But Hughes' book, still quite readable, was realism, not fantasy. Rowling has taken "Tom Brown's School Days" and re-seen it in the magical mirror of Tolkein. The resultant blend of a schoolboy ethos with a liberation from the constraints of reality-testing may read oddly to me, but is exactly what millions of children and their parents desire and welcome at this time.
In what follows, I may at times indicate some of the inadequacies of "Harry Potter." But I will keep in mind that a host are reading it who simply will not read superior fare, such as Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" or the "Alice" books of Lewis Carroll. Is it better that they read Rowling than not read at all? Will they advance from Rowling to more difficult pleasures?
Rowling presents two Englands, mundane and magical, divided not by social classes, but by the distinction between the "perfectly normal" (mean and selfish) and the adherents of sorcery. The sorcerers indeed seem as middle-class as the Muggles, the name the witches and wizards give to the common sort, since those addicted to magic send their sons and daughters off to Hogwarts, a Rugby school where only witchcraft and wizardry are taught. Hogwarts is presided over by Albus Dumbeldore as Headmaster, he being Rowling's version of Tolkein's Gandalf. The young future sorcerers are just like any other budding Britons, only more so, sports and food being primary preoccupations. (Sex barely enters into Rowling's cosmos, at least in the first volume.)
Whoopsie, that was the last part of it. First part here:
Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong? Yes.
Taking arms against Harry Potter, at this moment, is to emulate Hamlet taking arms against a sea of troubles. By opposing the sea, you won't end it. The Harry Potter epiphenomenon will go on, doubtless for some time, as J. R. R. Tolkien did, and then wane.
The official newspaper of our dominant counter-culture, The New York Times, has been startled by the Potter books into establishing a new policy for its not very literate book review. Rather than crowd out the Grishams, Clancys, Crichtons, Kings, and other vastly popular prose fictions on its fiction bestseller list, the Potter volumes will now lead a separate children's list. J. K. Rowling, the chronicler of Harry Potter, thus has an unusual distinction: She has changed the policy of the policy-maker.
I read new children's literature, when I can find some of any value, but had not tried Rowling until now. I have just concluded the 300 pages of the first book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," purportedly the best of the lot. Though the book is not well written, that is not in itself a crucial liability. It is much better to see the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," than to read the book upon which it was based, but even the book possessed an authentic imaginative vision. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" does not, so that one needs to look elsewhere for the book's (and its sequels') remarkable success. Such speculation should follow an account of how and why Harry Potter asks to be read.
>>7585267 >Here, from page 324 of The Order of the Phoenix, to give you a typical example, are six consecutive descriptions of the way people speak. "...said Snape maliciously," "... said Harry furiously", " ... he said glumly", "... said Hermione severely", "... said Ron indignantly", " ... said Hermione loftily". Do I need to explain why that is such second-rate writing? Well, can someone explain this?
>>7585144 >Mom read first few HP books to me growing up >read all of HP books as they come out >read genre shit like Eragon, GoT and Sanderson from elementary through to high school >now in fourth year university >can't memerize entire Shakespeare parts >can't read Wittgenstein without going over it three times >can't stop smoking weed all day every day >mfw Bloom was right
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