dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #202
abhillel at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 5 10:18:10 EDT 2000
Paul - I don't know the Ben Hur joke, please repeat it here!
Alison Lurie is an author, and teaches children's literature at Cornell
university. She occasionally writes about children's books for the New York
Review of Books. I particularly enjoyed a collection of essays she wrote,
called "Don't Tell the Parents - Why Children Love the Books they Do", that
made surprisingly good reading. Particularly the chapters about James
Barrie, Beatrix Potter and Kate Greenaway. Anyway, I *did* know who she was,
I've been using her essays as reference material, and I was humbled to meet
As for Harry Potter ripping off from whatever authors:
There's a nice response from Neil Gaiman on one of his major fan pages, I'm
afraid all my bookmarks have recently been erased but I found it doing a
cross search on Neil Gaiman and DWJ. He says something along the lines of "I
never accused JKR of ripping off from my books, she isn't the first to write
about a boy wizard, but then, neither was I" except he puts it in nicer
Still - Harry Potter is remarkably like Gaiman's Tim Hunter, from his late
discovery of wizardry down to the thatch of black hair, glasses and owl...
For some reason I have not heard anyone else compare the Harry Potter books
to Jill Murphy's "Worst Witch" series, which has some striking similarities:
old drafty school, mean potions teacher, broom-flying lessons, sneaking
around in the middle of the night...
Lets just say JKR took a little from here and a little from there. As for 8
days of Luke - perhaps someone thought the underground snakes were liket the
Basilisk in HP2? (Neil Gaiman had the best Basilisk though, in his Books of
I don't know if any of you have heard of the law suit pending against JKR,
from an American author, Nancy Stouffer, who claims to have orignated the
word "Muggles" and the name "Harry Potter". I can't help but pity Stouffer,
whose case does not seem to hold water, but has been receiving death threats
from irate Harry Potter fans.
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