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Literary Allusion in Harry Potter

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Literary Allusion in Harry Potter builds on the world-wide enthusiasm for J. K. Rowling's series in order to introduce its readers to some of the great works of literature on which Rowling draws. Harry Potter's narrative techniques are rooted in the western literary tradition and its allusiveness provides insight into Rowling's fictional world. Each chapter of Literary All Literary Allusion in Harry Potter builds on the world-wide enthusiasm for J. K. Rowling's series in order to introduce its readers to some of the great works of literature on which Rowling draws. Harry Potter's narrative techniques are rooted in the western literary tradition and its allusiveness provides insight into Rowling's fictional world. Each chapter of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter consists of an in-depth discussion of the intersection between Harry Potter and a canonical literary work, such as the plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Homer, Ovid, the Gawain-poet, Chaucer, Milton and Tennyson, and the novels of Austen, Hardy and Dickens. This approach aims to transform the reader's understanding of Rowling's literary achievement as well as to encourage the discovery of works with which they may be less familiar. The aim of this book is to delight Potter fans with a new perspective on their favourite books while harnessing that enthusiasm to increase their wider appreciation of literature.


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Literary Allusion in Harry Potter builds on the world-wide enthusiasm for J. K. Rowling's series in order to introduce its readers to some of the great works of literature on which Rowling draws. Harry Potter's narrative techniques are rooted in the western literary tradition and its allusiveness provides insight into Rowling's fictional world. Each chapter of Literary All Literary Allusion in Harry Potter builds on the world-wide enthusiasm for J. K. Rowling's series in order to introduce its readers to some of the great works of literature on which Rowling draws. Harry Potter's narrative techniques are rooted in the western literary tradition and its allusiveness provides insight into Rowling's fictional world. Each chapter of Literary Allusion in Harry Potter consists of an in-depth discussion of the intersection between Harry Potter and a canonical literary work, such as the plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Homer, Ovid, the Gawain-poet, Chaucer, Milton and Tennyson, and the novels of Austen, Hardy and Dickens. This approach aims to transform the reader's understanding of Rowling's literary achievement as well as to encourage the discovery of works with which they may be less familiar. The aim of this book is to delight Potter fans with a new perspective on their favourite books while harnessing that enthusiasm to increase their wider appreciation of literature.

50 review for Literary Allusion in Harry Potter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Sas

    Just when you thought all of Rowling's in-jokes and references had been identified, Groves swans in and picks up on a ton of new ones, and explores previously-identified influences (like Austen) at much greater length and depth. Groves' deceptively-slim volume contributes to the ever-expanding sense of Rowling's density as a writer. There is hardly a word, name, action, or color in her Harry Potter series that doesn't have deliberate significance, often on multiple levels. You'd think that event Just when you thought all of Rowling's in-jokes and references had been identified, Groves swans in and picks up on a ton of new ones, and explores previously-identified influences (like Austen) at much greater length and depth. Groves' deceptively-slim volume contributes to the ever-expanding sense of Rowling's density as a writer. There is hardly a word, name, action, or color in her Harry Potter series that doesn't have deliberate significance, often on multiple levels. You'd think that eventually all of these different pursuits - literary allusion, myth and folklore, alchemical symbolism, Christian significance, ring composition, punning and wordplay, not to mention somewhat important things like plot and consistent character development - would start to contradict each other and yet one only has to look at the enduring sales and popularity of the series to confirm its effortless readability. Given all that I think we can forgive Rowling a few stray adverbs. Like her literary namesake, Beatrice Groves serves as guide to the detail and thoughtfulness of Rowling's choices and the older works to which her work points. I can't believe we still need to have this argument made but Groves (bringing with her the clout of Oxford) demonstrates Rowling's justified place within the ongoing conversation of great books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matt Pitts

    Full of literary allusions (as you would expect) but also full of quotes from Rowling herself that illuminate the way she thinks about her work (and affirm that the numerous allusions are not accidental or incidental). A scholarly work that treats Rowling’s masterpiece with the literary respect it deserves. Recommended for literary Potter nerds.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Katie H.

    I was inspired by the collision of magic and literary theory that occurred on every page of this book. By providing this in-depth analysis of the relationship between the Harry Potter series and canonical literary works, Groves encouraged not only a greater appreciation for the Harry Potter series but also made me want to read some of the other literary works discussed in the book with which I was less familiar. I now have a greater understanding of why I wanted to re-read each book in the serie I was inspired by the collision of magic and literary theory that occurred on every page of this book. By providing this in-depth analysis of the relationship between the Harry Potter series and canonical literary works, Groves encouraged not only a greater appreciation for the Harry Potter series but also made me want to read some of the other literary works discussed in the book with which I was less familiar. I now have a greater understanding of why I wanted to re-read each book in the series multiple times—there are so many layers which a singular reading alone cannot reveal. I also thought it was awesome that Jane Austin was J. K. Rowling’s favorite author; I had no idea!

  4. 4 out of 5

    JJ Grindstaff

    Overall, an extremely thorough look into the allusions within the series, many of which I didn't even realize. The book does tend to drag a bit in places, as it reads like an extremely long essay I used to write in my English graduate courses. In an attempt to cite her source, it seems that there are maybe too many quotations or quotations where a simple explanation might be better suited. Overall, an enjoyable text for any big Potter and literary fan. Overall, an extremely thorough look into the allusions within the series, many of which I didn't even realize. The book does tend to drag a bit in places, as it reads like an extremely long essay I used to write in my English graduate courses. In an attempt to cite her source, it seems that there are maybe too many quotations or quotations where a simple explanation might be better suited. Overall, an enjoyable text for any big Potter and literary fan.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eric Harrington

    Though I found a few of the chapters to be redundant, and others to be taken in a direction that I didn't expect or find extremely fruitful, the book was written accessibly on the whole, and was a solid work of literary criticism and scholarship on a series that I love. Though I found a few of the chapters to be redundant, and others to be taken in a direction that I didn't expect or find extremely fruitful, the book was written accessibly on the whole, and was a solid work of literary criticism and scholarship on a series that I love.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara Sloan

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Brown

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lotzastitches

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca E.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne Dunnett

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

  13. 4 out of 5

    Drew.menster

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marlene A.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy Lynn

  17. 5 out of 5

    Noelle F

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cole

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Shelton

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natalie McCarthy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  22. 5 out of 5

    William Roe

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jonė Palaimaitė

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Morrow Boydston

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erika Hazel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caelie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Raven

  30. 4 out of 5

    Helen Todd

  31. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  32. 5 out of 5

    Rhi

  33. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Brewer

  34. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

  35. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Dennison

  36. 4 out of 5

    Francegcain

  37. 4 out of 5

    DeeDee

  38. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  39. 4 out of 5

    Isla

  40. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  41. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Clark

  42. 4 out of 5

    Nadia Tivvis

  43. 4 out of 5

    Valentina Fanelli

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kacie

  45. 4 out of 5

    Miroslav

  46. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Attenborough

  47. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  48. 4 out of 5

    Kristen G

  49. 4 out of 5

    Katrina

  50. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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