"...the annals of drunken college students, whiny Bush supporters, and bitter ex-spouses.
A few things that came up today while I try not to think about getting on a plane the day after tomorrow. I intend, by the way, to keep this blog going while in transit. I guess the posting times will go awry, but let's see how far I get with my intention. I've borrowed my pal Best's old laptop, the one with a crack though it. Cracked shall be my posting then!
Rowling brings Potter to magical end -By Deirdre Donahue at USA TODAY explains what made Harry Potter work.
With the series at the end, the question remains: What explains Rowling's appeal? Perhaps it is that her imaginative creativity infuses her unparalleled range. The pages fly because of the suspense.
Starting with their names, her characters are unforgettable. She can create small domestic scenes and dramatic battle tableaux. She can convey adolescent self-absorption and invoke full-chill gothic horror. She created an entire alternative world where mundane activities such as mail delivery were imbued with enchantment.
At the Comics Journal forum somebody links to an old Neil Gaiman interview at the-trades.com from 2002, where the similarity between Harry and Neil's earlier Tomothy Hunter is queried. Neil's summary of how genre fiction works quite illuminating:
"... the thing about genre fiction--it's like a great big bubbling stewpot: ingredients go in, and stew comes out. And as you go, you add stuff to the stew. If you're a good writer, you keep popping stuff into the stew while you're going.
I was certainly not the first writer to create a bespectacled kid who had the potential to be the world's greatest magician. To create a kid with magical power--and more important, magical potential--and to use owls and so on, it's all stuff that's fairly obvious going on what went before. J. K. Rowling was not the first person to send a kid to wizard school. From Jaime Olan and Diane Duane in recent years--Diana Wynne Jones is marvelous! (Witch Week and Charmed Life.)--going back to T. H. White and E. Nesbitt."
Connect this with my long quotation from RG Collingwood in my post of 7 Feb
While googling for something else which I can't talk about yet, I came across an old post by Canadian author Crawford Killian: Are Blogs Literature? (nov 2003)
So when we contemplate the geyser of writing unleashed by blogging technology, we should not feel disappointed that it's a geyser of sludge. Even if future technology permits the reading of today's blogs, no one will care. A Ph.D. just wouldn't be worth plowing through the annals of drunken college students, whiny Bush supporters, and bitter ex-spouses.
I note he was born in 1941. Perhaps he is of a generation that still believes in the idea of a ring-o-roses of smart academically minded people cultivating the charming abstraction of Literature as a scale of still unfolding great works, and they decide who gets to be in it. Can he get through all his time here and still hold disappointment at bay? Perhaps I should follow his blog and find out. Somebody in his comments seems to think permanence is the yardstick. The world gets the literature it deserves. If the wisest words of our times appeared momentarily on somebody's blog yesterday, nobody read them and nobody saved them, and never mind the proverbial tree in the forest, we'd be a right bunch of fools wouldn't we! And since a fool can never know the measure of his folly, it would be wiser to presume, or at least suspect, that they DID.