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article on HP and mythopoesis

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  • Matthew S Winslow
    Here s an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group, but I thought you might be interested. The
    Message 1 of 10 , Feb 21, 2001
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      Here's an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about
      mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group, but I thought you might be
      interested. The author is arguing from a strongly Christian, mostly
      evangelical POV, but he comes down in favor of Harry Potter and
      mythopoeic literature.

      www.cornerstonemag.com/cm/imaginarium/features/muggle.html

      Matt

      Currently Reading: Thirteen Phantasms by James Blaylock
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    • Trudy Shaw
      Thanks for providing this link, Matt. I just about didn t read it, as I m one of the few people who hasn t gotten into the whole Harry thing, but since
      Message 2 of 10 , Feb 22, 2001
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        Thanks for providing this link, Matt. I just about didn't read it, as I'm one of the few people who hasn't gotten into the whole "Harry" thing, but since mythopoesis was involved I went to the site and am really glad I did. I thought it was a great article. Like you said, maybe nothing really new, but said in an eloquent way.

        -- Trudy

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Matthew S Winslow
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 9:55 AM
        Subject: [mythsoc] article on HP and mythopoesis


        Here's an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about
        mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group, but I thought you might be
        interested. The author is arguing from a strongly Christian, mostly
        evangelical POV, but he comes down in favor of Harry Potter and
        mythopoeic literature.

        www.cornerstonemag.com/cm/imaginarium/features/muggle.html

        Matt

        Currently Reading: Thirteen Phantasms by James Blaylock
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      • WendellWag@aol.com
        I ve just read the Cornerstone magazine article, and it makes a good case for why the standard attack on the Harry Potter books is ridiculous. It makes an
        Message 3 of 10 , Feb 22, 2001
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          I've just read the Cornerstone magazine article, and it makes a good case for
          why the standard attack on the Harry Potter books is ridiculous. It makes an
          interesting point when it says that claiming the books promote magic is as
          ridiculous as trying to prevent teens from smoking marijuana by showing them
          the film _Reefer Madness_. Not only would they not believe you, but they
          would find your arguments so absurd that they would cease to listen to you
          henceforth.

          But it should be pointed out that there are other arguments about whether the
          books are as good as some claim. My objections to the books are of two
          sorts. First, I don't find the sense of wonder in the Harry Potter books to
          nearly the extent that I find it in great fantasy works. It's a decent
          enough series, but not a great one.

          Second, I find the account of Harry's unhappy childhood to be laughable for
          life in the 1990's. I think that whenever J. K. Rowling does a book signing,
          she should ask the children as they come up to her, "Which character in the
          books do you think your life most resembles?" Anyone who says "Harry
          Potter" she should slap silly. Yes, there are children who live unhappy
          lives these days, but any child who gets to go see an author speak and have
          them autograph their copy of the book is extremely unlikely to be one of
          those children. On the other hand, if a child says "Dudley Dursley" she
          should shake their hand and praise them for at least being honest. Then she
          should slap them silly for having been spoiled all their life.

          Wendell Wagner
        • Matthew S Winslow
          ... character ... speak ... be ... Dursley ... So, which one are you, Wendell? Harry or Dudley? In a more serious vein, I think kids probably /can/
          Message 4 of 10 , Feb 22, 2001
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            On Thu, 22 Feb 2001 10:14:12 EST WendellWag@... writes:
            > I think that whenever J. K. Rowling does a book
            > signing, she should ask the children as they come up to her, "Which
            character
            > in the books do you think your life most resembles?" Anyone who says
            > "Harry Potter" she should slap silly. Yes, there are children who live

            > unhappy lives these days, but any child who gets to go see an author
            speak
            > and have them autograph their copy of the book is extremely unlikely to
            be
            > one of those children. On the other hand, if a child says "Dudley
            Dursley"
            > she should shake their hand and praise them for at least being honest.

            > Then she should slap them silly for having been spoiled all their life.

            So, which one are you, Wendell? Harry or Dudley? <g>

            In a more serious vein, I think kids probably /can/ identify with Harry
            in the same way people can identify with Frodo or Sam. Not that any of
            them have had their finger bit off by Gollum, or accompanied their master
            to the Cracks of Doom, but in that the travails of a certain character
            can resonate with one. It's the whole idea of empathizing with a
            character: you don't necessarily have to have gone through Harry's total
            experiences, but any child who feels he or she has had a particularly
            rough childhood and has been unjustly picked on can identify with Harry.

            Of course, I realize you ask particularly about resemblance and not about
            identification, so I'd say your question immediately begs the answer. /Of
            course/ no one's life resembles Harry's, but no one's resembles Frodo's
            either, for that matter.

            Matt

            Currently Reading: The World Turned Upside Down by Christopher Hill
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          • David S. Bratman
            ... character ... Methinks this protesteth too much. Grotesque child abuse at home is not the sole component of Harry Potter s life. The keynote in his
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 22, 2001
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              WendellWag@... writes:

              > I think that whenever J. K. Rowling does a book
              > signing, she should ask the children as they come up to her, "Which
              character
              > in the books do you think your life most resembles?" Anyone who says
              > "Harry Potter" she should slap silly. Yes, there are children who live
              > unhappy lives these days, but any child who gets to go see an author speak
              > and have them autograph their copy of the book is extremely unlikely to be
              > one of those children.

              Methinks this protesteth too much. "Grotesque child abuse at home" is not
              the sole component of Harry Potter's life. The keynote in his life is
              being secretly special but generally unappreciated, and I suspect most
              children feel that way. That is probably part of what makes him popular in
              the first place.

              David Bratman
            • daeron@bellsouth.net
              ... [snip] ... Well, it was new to me. I m kind of a newbie here. I m no stranger to the fictional works of Lewis and Tolkien but I did not know what the
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 2, 2001
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                --- In mythsoc@y..., Matthew S Winslow <mithlond@j...> wrote:
                > Here's an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about
                > mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group
                [snip]
                > www.cornerstonemag.com/cm/imaginarium/features/muggle.html

                Well, it was new to me. I'm kind of a newbie here. I'm no stranger
                to the fictional works of Lewis and Tolkien but I did not know what
                the term "mythopoesis" meant nor that they had coined it. I can see
                that it's going to be something of a life changing concept for me.

                Is the definition in the above referenced article satisfactory for
                everyone? Is there a better or more complete one I should know of?
                Where can I find a more thorough discussion of the idea, preferably
                by Lewis or Tolkien?

                David Finnamore
              • Trudy Shaw
                Welcome, David -- Start with Tolkien s essay On Fairy-Stories in The Tolkien Reader, which I m sure is still available in paperback (I hope so, since I m
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 3, 2001
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                  Welcome, David --

                  Start with Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" in The Tolkien Reader, which I'm sure is still available in paperback (I hope so, since I'm about ready for a new one). Then, in the same book, move to "Leaf by Niggle" for a delightful use of the ideas. "On Fairy-Stories," in fact, includes the poem which Tolkien says he "...wrote to a man who described myth and fairy-story as... 'Breathing a lie through Silver.'" The man he wrote it for was C.S. Lewis, and although the poem isn't given a title in the essay, it usually goes by "Mythopoesis."

                  That's just the beginning. The door opens wide from there, with Tolkien's own letters, other people's books on Tolkien's writing (I'd especially suggest those by Verlyn Flieger), and comments by Tolkien's son Christopher in the many books he's published of his father's work posthumously.

                  I'm more of a Tolkien person than a Lewis one, so there are others here who can comment on him. Of course, the only reason I'm sending this note instead of any of the other members here who could give the same info, is that I seem to have gotten to the computer first this morning! Others will add more, I'm sure. It's a fantastic journey that never ends.

                  --Trudy Shaw

                  --- Original Message -----
                  From: daeron@...
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 4:49 PM
                  Subject: [mythsoc] Re: article on HP and mythopoesis


                  --- In mythsoc@y..., Matthew S Winslow <mithlond@j...> wrote:
                  > Here's an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about
                  > mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group
                  [snip]
                  > www.cornerstonemag.com/cm/imaginarium/features/muggle.html

                  Well, it was new to me. I'm kind of a newbie here. I'm no stranger
                  to the fictional works of Lewis and Tolkien but I did not know what
                  the term "mythopoesis" meant nor that they had coined it. I can see
                  that it's going to be something of a life changing concept for me.

                  Is the definition in the above referenced article satisfactory for
                  everyone? Is there a better or more complete one I should know of?
                  Where can I find a more thorough discussion of the idea, preferably
                  by Lewis or Tolkien?

                  David Finnamore


                  Yahoo! Groups Sponsor



                  The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org

                  Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ted Sherman
                  Also, read Lewis s Preface in the Eerdmans editions of George MacDonald s _Lilith_ and _Phantastes_, in which he discusses mythopoesis and asserts that
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 3, 2001
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                    Also, read Lewis's Preface in the Eerdmans editions of George MacDonald's _Lilith_ and _Phantastes_, in which he discusses mythopoesis and asserts that MacDonald is the supreme mythopoeic artist.

                    Ted Sherman

                    Trudy Shaw wrote:

                    > Welcome, David --
                    >
                    > Start with Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" in The Tolkien Reader, which I'm sure is still available in paperback (I hope so, since I'm about ready for a new one). Then, in the same book, move to "Leaf by Niggle" for a delightful use of the ideas. "On Fairy-Stories," in fact, includes the poem which Tolkien says he "...wrote to a man who described myth and fairy-story as... 'Breathing a lie through Silver.'" The man he wrote it for was C.S. Lewis, and although the poem isn't given a title in the essay, it usually goes by "Mythopoesis."
                    >
                    > That's just the beginning. The door opens wide from there, with Tolkien's own letters, other people's books on Tolkien's writing (I'd especially suggest those by Verlyn Flieger), and comments by Tolkien's son Christopher in the many books he's published of his father's work posthumously.
                    >
                    > I'm more of a Tolkien person than a Lewis one, so there are others here who can comment on him. Of course, the only reason I'm sending this note instead of any of the other members here who could give the same info, is that I seem to have gotten to the computer first this morning! Others will add more, I'm sure. It's a fantastic journey that never ends.
                    >
                    > --Trudy Shaw
                    >
                    > --- Original Message -----
                    > From: daeron@...
                    > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 4:49 PM
                    > Subject: [mythsoc] Re: article on HP and mythopoesis
                    >
                    > --- In mythsoc@y..., Matthew S Winslow <mithlond@j...> wrote:
                    > > Here's an interesting article on Harry Potter that talks a bit about
                    > > mythopoesis. Nothing really new to this group
                    > [snip]
                    > > www.cornerstonemag.com/cm/imaginarium/features/muggle.html
                    >
                    > Well, it was new to me. I'm kind of a newbie here. I'm no stranger
                    > to the fictional works of Lewis and Tolkien but I did not know what
                    > the term "mythopoesis" meant nor that they had coined it. I can see
                    > that it's going to be something of a life changing concept for me.
                    >
                    > Is the definition in the above referenced article satisfactory for
                    > everyone? Is there a better or more complete one I should know of?
                    > Where can I find a more thorough discussion of the idea, preferably
                    > by Lewis or Tolkien?
                    >
                    > David Finnamore
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                    >
                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                    --
                    Dr. Theodore James Sherman, Editor
                    Mythlore: A Journal of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature
                    Associate Professor of English
                    Box X041, Middle Tennessee State University
                    Murfreesboro, TN 37132
                    615 898-5836 Office
                    615 898-5098 FAX
                    tsherman@...
                  • daeron@bellsouth.net
                    Thank you, Trudy and Dr. Sherman! I ve read The Hobbit, LotR, the Silmarrilion, and The Lost Tales many times but somehow have never gotten ahold of The
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 3, 2001
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                      Thank you, Trudy and Dr. Sherman! I've read The Hobbit, LotR, the
                      Silmarrilion, and The Lost Tales many times but somehow have never
                      gotten ahold of The Tolkien Reader. I was oblivious to George
                      MacDonald until I subscribed to this list. Looks like I've got some
                      reading to do. Don't tales ever have an end? :-)
                    • Wayne G. Hammond
                      ... I m sure is still available in paperback (I hope so, since I m about ready for a new one). Then, in the same book, move to Leaf by Niggle for a
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 3, 2001
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                        Trudy wrote:

                        >Start with Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" in The Tolkien Reader, which
                        I'm sure is still available in paperback (I hope so, since I'm about ready
                        for a new one). Then, in the same book, move to "Leaf by Niggle" for a
                        delightful use of the ideas. "On Fairy-Stories," in fact, includes the
                        poem which Tolkien says he "...wrote to a man who described myth and
                        fairy-story as... 'Breathing a lie through Silver.'" The man he wrote it
                        for was C.S. Lewis, and although the poem isn't given a title in the essay,
                        it usually goes by "Mythopoesis."

                        The title of the poem is "Mythopoeia". Only a few lines are quoted in "On
                        Fairy-Stories". For the complete poem, don't go to _The Tolkien Reader_,
                        but instead, find one of the editions of _Tree and Leaf_ beginning in 1988
                        that say "including the poem Mythopoeia": in these the complete poem has
                        been added to the volume.

                        Wayne Hammond
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