Byatt on Potter

minnow at minnow at
Thu Jul 10 08:10:31 EDT 2003

Melissa wrote:

>If we're breeding a world of non-readers (maybe so, maybe
>not) then it's probably not the best idea to be overly judgmental of
>whatever they do choose to read, even if it's not of the highest literary
>quality.  It's certainly not going to get them reading in other directions.

"You will read.  You will enjoy reading.  You will read books about grim
children having embarrassing sexual encounters, children who have
paraplegic siblings or siblings who are in and out of prison, children
whose mothers are junkies, children whose fathers are abusive, children who
get pregant and have an abortion, and children who go twocking, because
these are about Reality and you will Learn from them.  You will not read
about things that are not real and relevant (but that are interesting and
fun for all that).  You will read.  You will enjoy reading..."  Seems a
little self-defeating to me.

And at school you will read *Lord of the Flies* not *Lord of the Rings*,
because LotF is *literature* and LotR is *fantasy* and fantasy means lies.

A plague on *all* their houses!

It's that determination to hold people face down in a pot of message again.


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