HP review

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Thu Jul 3 11:25:57 EDT 2003

I haven't read enough Harry Potter to comment pitch into the HP debate
itself, but I did wonder about the Rod Liddle piece. It was funny, but
afterwards I started thinking (in perhaps too po-faced a way) what the point
of it was. What did he find in the Richard Adams article that was so
risible? Not the particular argument he was making well or badly, it
seems(*), but the fact that he was mixing children's lit and ideology at
all. Liddle seemed to find it hard to believe either that children's books
can carry significant ideological baggage, or/and that children are capable
of taking in ideological content, even if they are ill-equipped to
articulate them. Personally though I think both those ideas are obviously
true! Wind in the Willows for example (I pick it because I was having just
this conversation a couple of days ago) really is imbued with anxiety about
the working class, isn't it? (I'm tempted to add - and hey, looks like I'm
giving in to the temptation! - that it was published just a few years after
that business with the Battleship Potemkin - now that really _was_ messing
about in boats! No wonder the gentry were quaking in their down-at-heel
bedroom slippers...)

(*) By the way, while I found the Adams article plausible in many ways, I
did take exception to some of his tactics, particularly his insinuating
attempt to link JKR to support for apartheid by way of her fondness for
imperial weights and measures!


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