Byatt on Potter

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Fri Jul 11 13:41:34 EDT 2003

On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 09:59:11 +0100, Roger Burton West wrote:

>[back to Melissa]
>>wanting to understand why adult readers are so addicted to these books,
>>Byatt doesn't really seem to believe she'll find the answer to be a positive
>>one.  That's a little depressing--but again, not a huge surprise.
>If, for whatever reason, one considers the HP books not to be very good,
>then it's natural to say "why on earth are so many people reading this
>stuff when there's so much better stuff out there?".

The question is not the problem.  However, an answer which presupposes that
there is something wrong with those readers is really no answer at all.
Byatt didn't really try to figure out the answer; she assumed that the
readers were at fault.  She drew conclusions based on why *she* no longer
read such books and then assumed that adult HP fans must be stuck in those
earlier stages--further assuming that this was universally bad, as though
all readers will eventually pass through all the stages of intellectual
development to become great readers.  I wonder myself why *this* series has
attracted attention when so many other amazing ones have not.  But unlike
Byatt, I tend to focus on the elements of the books that succeeded rather
than the shortcomings of the readers who were so easily swayed.

Melissa Proffitt

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