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for Rowling versus Shakespeare

5/16/2012 c1 kamilla
legal perfeitopara estuda
5/27/2011 c1 M. Williams
I initially typed up a really long response about how you were apparently hiding some kind of literary insecurity behind your willful ignorance which manifested itself, among other ways, in your "verbal music" argument, and about how your analysis of classical literature was somewhere around a 10th grade level, and about how you confused the arguments of one old school literary critic with the entire academy, and again how shallow your understanding of literature is, and how you incorrectly and unfairly dismiss the importance of literary figures (I ask you, where would Dr. King be without Thoreau?) and, admittedly, how excited I was for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter.

But then I realized that your entire essay could be summed up thusly: ignorant petulance.
5/18/2009 c2 You Know Who
Bloody brilliant
5/24/2008 c1 Kat
I stopped reading after you proclaimed proudly that you'd never heard of or read any litterary classics because you found them pretentiouse and snobby. Grow up.
3/29/2007 c1 Denim
I partly agree with you and partly disagree. I agree that the Harry Potter books can give a person the same, or even more, amount of pleasure than reading Shakespeare does. In fact, I'd rather read Harry Potter most days than pick up a copy of "Romeo and Juliet."

What I don't agree with is your treatment of authors who are greater in literary skill than JK Rowling. The Harry Potter books are a fine set of books, but it is true that the Alice books are classic, whereas the Harry Potter books are definitely too new and too modern to be considered classic just yet.

I also find it completely ridiculous to compare Shakespeare with JK Rowling. Shakespeare was probably the world's greatest poet and writer. There have been many great writers and poets, but none of them have the literary genius that Shakespeare's work possesses.

I hope I am not missing the point of your essay. I do agree that the man you were talking about who called Harry Potter rubbish was wrong.

3/29/2007 c2 jccrazy
I agree with you. People have to remember that Shakespeare wasn't an author, he was a playwright.

He's about the equivalent to Ron Howard or Steven Spielberg of our time. He has no esoteric meaning in his plays at all, unlike most American writers.
3/25/2007 c1 MrFlames
Now do you see what you've done, Biocube? You've made even KeyToExistance more dumb.
3/25/2007 c1 KeytoExistance
I'm a bit torn here. On one hand, I agree that no one should feel stupid because they prefer Potter over Shakespeare. Bloom is, no doubt, egotistic. He's America's foremost literary expert and he knows it. But on the other hand, I'm a bit appalled by your complete disregard and frankly lack of understanding of literature.

Let me start off by saying that Bloom is right when he says Harry Potter is not literature. I'm not saying that Harry Potter is a bad book. I'm not saying that it doesn't employ literary techniques and that it doesn't contain deep themes. I'm saying that, let's face it, Harry Potter is popular because of the entertainment it provides, not because of any deep explorations of human nature. The ideas in it aren't even original: others have written about wizard schools before. Harry Potter is entertaining, but it isn't literature.

This shouldn't be surprising. Very few works that are considered literature were popular in their day. In the ninteenth century, the most popular novels were gothic novels similar to the annoying popular vampire romance fiction of today. People go after thrilling entertaining; popularity is not a means of deciding what is good literature.

So what makes literature literature?

Usually, it has beautiful use of langauge (Shakespeare), had an important historical impact (The Jungle), is a classic work that is the first of its kind (Illiad and the Oddessey) and/or explores a deep part or philosphy of human nature (Heart of Darkness, Hamlet, Frankenstein).

Modern novels of Crichton, Rowling and Stephan King don't really do these things. Sure, King adds a lot to the thriller genre, just like Agatha Christe raised the bar for the Mystery genre. But writers throughout history have raised the bars for each of their respective genres and were loved in their own time. King's books should be studied by any aspiring thriller novelist, but high school students not interesting in writing a bestseller? Don't think so.

From reading your essay I get the impression that you haven't read much of the literature you talk about, especially Frankenstein. This is emphasized when you call it a "novelization of a 1950s monster movie). The book and movie adaptions are nothing alike. The title characters are even different. (Frankenstein is the name of the scientist in the book. The monster has no name). If you seriously think that Frankenstein's only message was "scientists should think about their creations" then I seriously suggest reading the thing carefully. One theme that does not exist in Jurassic Park, for example, is Victor's responsiblity to his creation versus his responsibility to the rest of mankind. He has to choose between making a wife for his creation so that he can be happy, or saving mankind from a possible race of monster and by doing so causing the monster to plague him for the rest of his life (including killing Victor's wife as "revenge"). The monster's story about trying to understand the world after his creation is an allegory for mankind's own early attempts to understand the world. There's a whole lot more to the novel than "scientists should be careful about their creations."

Besides, Shelley was among the first to come up with this theme. Jurrassic Park, in essence, only copies off this theme and it is not nearly as convincing, since cloning animals (which we are doing) is far different from creating a creature of the same level as a human.

I don't want to ramble on with my other points. I'm sorry if I sound somewhat elitist to you just like Bloom. I agree that your choice of novels doesn't make you smart or dumb, but I also believe that certain novels go down through history as literature for a reason. Does that mean that there's no such thing as an underrated or overrated novel? No, of course not. But the day we start calling Harry Potter "literature" is the day my already slipping faith in mankind goes down a notch. Potter is entertaining, but it explores no new ideas about mankind, has no extradinary use of the English language and no important impact on society. So in that aspect we disagree.
3/25/2007 c2 6MrFlames
C'mon, we all know Bloom says what he does because Rowling has a bigger penis than he does.
3/23/2007 c1 MrFlames
I'm tempted not to hate on this essay, since in comparison to a lot of professional literary criticism, it isn't that bad. But it's still pretty bad, especially by your standards.
3/23/2007 c1 1Hi'iaka
Stephen King isn't all he's cracked up to be. Michael Crighton has good ideas, but his storytelling style is about as engaging as watching fruit dry. (Anyone manage to slog through "Prey" or "Timeline"? Ugh.)

Either way, I read the Bloom article that you mention, and he did come across as needlessly pompous. However, there's a good point to be made out of all of this: the Harry Potter books are readable, at most, but there are tons of other great YA books and authors out there that are being eclipsed.

One more note: Have you ever actually read Shakespeare?
3/22/2007 c1 1Formerly
You're like a black hole of bad taste. I feel you tearing at my soul.
3/22/2007 c1 7poisedtokill
My teacher refers to books such as Harry Potter as "literary fastfood". I have to surmise that she means "junk", but I agree with you. Just because we can't connect with something that was written hundreds of years ago doesn't make us stupid. People who think like that... well, you said it best when you said "snob". They're just people that want to be one-up ("I enjoy more sophisticated literature than you, therefore I AM more sophisticated than you.") I know a guy who won't even pick up a Harry Potter book and when I asked him why he basically said "because it's popular". So... he won't read it because it's GOOD? Blah. I'm rambling. .;

Very good job. You articulated your (and many other people's) opinion extremely well. I'll probably present some of your arguments next time I have a discussion about literature. ^^
3/22/2007 c1 17grasping.for.sanity
I get that you're mad about the guy ripping on Harry Potter and believe me I'm a Harry Potter fan too, but I'm not sure that's the best excuse to critisize Shakespeare. As for engagin plots look at Romeo and Juliet: two young lovers that have to hide their love, end up killing themselves because they loved each other so much and couldn't live without each other. Hamlet: the son of a dead king seeks to find out if his step father murdered his father and ends up trangressing into madness. Shakespeares plot were well thought out, even more so because unlike in today's world there wasn't a surplus of these types of story lines. Also, Shakespeare's words may be lyrical but even if you were to translate them into todays world it's amazing how he was able to take words and manipulate them in such a way that one simple sentence may have five different meanings. Everyday you will use at least two sentences from the place Hamlet without even knowing it. And you said Shakespeare didn't affect anyone? I think todays' society using two sentences a day without even reazling it shows us just how much he affected the entire world for years. The whole verbal music thing doesn't really hold up either, sure I'm mean Shakespeare took it to the extreme sometimes but that's the way they talked and wrote back then. You can't just discount the classics because they spoke differently than us. Frankenstein is a great book, one of my favourites. Sure Shelley didn't know a hell of a lot about science but then again it wasn't like it was a major subject in school for her like it is for us. In 100 years people will probably look back on our books and go 'haha they really thought that cellular respiration happened that way, what idiots.' When you read a classic you have to be familar with the time that it was written in, then you realize that these writers were far ahead of their time. When you read Harry Potter there's no stroke of brilliance, nothing that makes people sit back and reflect on their lives. Frankenstein was a horror book in the way that it brought to people's attention the way that they treated people that weren't deemed 'normal.' It brought to peoples' minds the whole, nature vs nuture idea. So yes, Harry Potter is a great series, I love it it's a very engaging book. But it's not really a classic is it? It's another fantasy book. It doesn't really have another other effect on people than being entertaining for the time being. Lord of the Rings was an entirely different case as well. Just compare the writing, big difference. So yes, the professors are wrong in calling Harry Potter bad books, but you can't just go and insult Shakespeare because someone picked on J. K Rowling.
3/22/2007 c1 35Coveredinblood11

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