Thursday, July 08, 2004

In this thoughtful little post, Penn English professor Michael Berube accomplishes two very agreeable tasks:

1) Justifies my Harry Potter affection with the full weight of Professorial Indulgence; and

2) Gets in some deliciously pointed barbs at Harold Bloom.

To whit:
As for me, after we saw the movie I was curious enough to read the dang book at last, and I was fairly impressed. I've since heard that Harold Bloom, that learned old gasbag and self-designated arbiter of all written words, despises the book and has said so at least once every six months for the past five years. Well, alas, Bloom, my good man-- leave aside the sorry spectacle of the world's most famous literary critic spending some of his dwindling energies trying to squash J. K. Rowling like a bug, all because of a series of books whose readership extends to eight-year-olds, for god's sake (would Lionel Trilling have behaved this way with A Wrinkle in Time, do you think?), and let me put it this way: you style yourself after Falstaff, but you have no sense of humor whatsoever. You never did-- and your Rowling snits seal the deal. Now, what do we call people who think of themselves as latter-day Falstaffs, but who have never uttered a funny thing in their lives? Don't think Shakespeare-- think Restoration comedy.


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