Byatt on Potter

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Thu Jul 10 14:11:09 EDT 2003

>Is she actually claiming that children's books are by definition lacking
>in numinousity?  Is she just an idiot?

Quite the contrary. She is saying a number of children's books have this 
quality, but JKR's don't.

"Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous." and "But in the 
case of the great children's writers of the recent past, there was a 
compensating seriousness. There was and is a real sense of mystery, 
powerful forces, dangerous creatures in dark forests."

>One of the reasons that people go
>back to some of the older children's books is their capacity for
>expressing the "divine, spiritual, revealing or suggesting the presence of
>a god; inspiring awe and reverence."

Yes, this is what she said.

>Modern high fiction is often completely lacking in what I would consider
>numinousity because it's so grindingly realistic. (and written primarily
>by middle aged white men, damaged minority women or young white men who
>don't want to keep it in their pants....)

Byatt's work is often the opposite of grindingly realistic. She writes (and 
rewrites) fairy tales, and a couple of her novels are fairly intensely 
about 19th/20th century interests in spiritualism (mediums, etc).

-------------- next part --------------

Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.493 / Virus Database: 292 - Release Date: 25/06/2003

More information about the Dwj mailing list