The variety of contributions allows for a range of appraoches and interpretive methods in exploring the novels, and reveals their deeper meanings and attitudes towards justice, education, race, foreign cultures, socio-economic class, and gender.
J. K. Rowling achieved astounding commercial success with her series of novels about Harry Potter, the boy-wizard who finds out about his magical powers on the morning of his eleventh birthday. The books' incredible popularity, and the subsequent likelihood that they are among this generation's most formative narratives, call for critical exploration and study to interpret the works' inherent tropes and themes. The essays in this collection assume that Rowling's works should not be relegated to the categories of pulp fiction or children's trends, which would deny their certain influence on the intellectual, emotional, and psychosocial development of today's children. The variety of contributions allows for a range of approaches and interpretive methods in exploring the novels, and reveals the deeper meanings and attitudes towards justice, education, race, foreign cultures, socioeconomic class, and gender.
Following an introductory discussion of the Harry Potter phenomenon are essays considering the psychological and social-developmental experiences of children as mirrored in Rowling's novels. Next, the works' literary and historical contexts are examined, including the European fairy tale tradition, the British abolitionist movement, and the public-school story genre. A third section focuses on the social values underlying the Potter series and on issues such as morality, the rule of law, and constructions of bravery.
Introduction by Giselle Liza Anatol
Reading Harry Potter through Theories of Child Development
Archetypes and the Unconscious in Harry Potter and Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock and Dogsbody by Alice Mills
Harry Potter and the Magical Looking Glass: Reading the Secret Life of the Preadolescent by Lisa Damour
Harry Potter and the Acquisition of Knowledge by Lisa Hopkins
Safe as Houses: Sorting and School Houses at Hogwarts by Chantel Lavoie
Harry and Hierarchy: Book Banning as a Reaction to the Subversion of Authority by Rebecca Stephens
Literary Influences and Historical Contexts
Harry Potter's Schooldays: J. K. Rowling and the British Boarding School Novel by Karen Manners Smith
Accepting Mudbloods: The Ambivalent Social Vision of Rowling's Fairy Tales by Elaine Ostry
Hermione and the Houses Elves: The Literary and Historical Contexts of J. K.Rowling's Anti-Slavery Campaign by Brycchan Carey
Flying Cars, Floo Powder, and Flaming Torches: The Hi-Tech, Lo-Tech World of Wizardry by Margaret J. Oakes
Morality and Social Values: Issues of Power
Cruel Heroes and Treacherous Texts: Educating the Reader in Moral Complexity and Critical Reading in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Books by Veronica Schanoes
Harry Potter and the Rule of Law: The Central Weakness of Legal Concepts in the Wizard World by Susan Hall
The Fallen Empire: Exploring Ethnic Otherness in the World of Harry Potter by Giselle Liza Anatol
Class and Socio-Economic Identity in Harry Potter's England by Julia Park
Cinderfella: J. K. Rowling's Wily Web of Gender by Ximena Gallardo-C and C. Jason Smith
Notes on Contributors