HP review

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Sat Jun 28 16:33:20 EDT 2003

> Speaking of HP5 there was an intelligent and provocative article
> in the Boston Phoenix about the subversive aspects of Harry Potter, even
> Potter-bystanders such as yourself might find it amusing! I really enjoyed
> it.

Yes that was good! Can a full-dress Bakhtinian analysis of "HP and the
Carnivalesque" be far behind? I was particularly struck by the fact that the
writer found it necessary to define for his (presumably literate) readers
the non-sexual sense of 'queer', which I hadn't realised had fallen so far
into disuse. And also the idea that queerness of that kind (to say nothing
of the other) might be seen as threatening by the mainstream. Is that a
specifically American thing? I'm thinking of Susan Cooper's 1965
not-much-read-now book on America, _Behind the Golden Curtain_ (1965), where
the newly-expatriate Cooper comments on the cult of the 'regular guy' in her
new homeland:

 'Americans in general seem not to harbour the sneaking admiration for the
eccentric that you will find in many parts of Europe. Sometimes, indeed,
they will not even tolerate him. Admiration is reserved for the man who in
all respects approximates pretty well to a wholesome norm; who has nothing
_odd_ about him.'

Of course, Cooper's book is almost 40 years old, and even if she had a point
then it's not necessarily still valid, but I'd be interested to know if this
still rings true at all.


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