What makes a book a classic? What is it about a book that will have
generation after generation reading it? English Literature majors
could spend hours theorizing the answers to this question. One series of
texts that has received publicity and wide-spread acclaim over the past
seven years is the Harry Potter collection. J.K. Rowling could never have
possibly imagined how her little book about a boy with broken glasses and
a scar on his forehead would impact world culture. Yet today, we all discuss
the “Harry Potter phenomenon” and how adults and children alike can
enjoy the books. But my question is this: Will Harry Potter become a
beloved classic like The Chronicles of Narnia or Great Expectations? Does
Harry Potter have what it takes to be worthwhile to teach in schools, or is
it just a temporary fad that individuals will look back on and remark: “Oh
yeah, I remember when those books were popular?”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “classic” as “a work of
enduring excellence.” Harry Potter’s popularity has lasted since 1998, when
the first book came out. Granted Harry Potter is a series, but seven years is
a long time for a book or literary piece to hold an entire world’s attention.
American citizens become tired of a television series after only a few
months. Though popularity doesn’t equal classic, it doesn’t mean that the
Harry Potter series lacks the serious literary elements to be a classic. Shaun
Johnson comments: “I dismissed the validity of said literature based on its
resounding popularity. I had also grown cynical about popular culture; it
was my understanding that most things therein could only be trusted for
false sensationalism and no...
... middle of paper ...
... Marketing and the Translation of J.K.
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Maughan, Shannon. “The Harry Potter Halo.” Publisher’s Weekly 246.29 (1999): 4 pages.
Minzesheimer, Bob. “Editors Crown Tolkein Lord of Science Fiction.” USA Today 3 Mar.
2003, sec. Life: 3d.
Nikiforuk, Andrew. “The Real Power of Harry and Frodo.” Canadian Business 76.2 (2003):
Radigan, Winifred M. “Connecting the Generations: Memory, Magic, and Harry Potter.”
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 44.8 (2001): 2 pages.
The Harry Potter Series. Advertisement. Multilingual Books. 14 Nov. 2005. http://www.
Tucker, Nicholas. “The Rise and Rise of Harry Potter.” Children’s Literature in Education.
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“Wizards and Muggles.” Christian Century 116.33 (1999): 1 page.
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