Opinion: "...A S Byatt is right."

  July 19, 2003 at 1:18 AM ET
  James     iharrypotter.net (via The Daily Telegraph)

Quoted below is her argument that the Harry Potter series are not classics and that they should have never been viewed as such.

Oh, the power of the printed word. And on that subject A S Byatt is right.

Master Potter is a global triumph … millions of children back to reading, thank Christ for that, but classic in the longevity stakes? I don't think so. A classic is more than a smash hit; it has to have something to do with inspiration and a great deal more to do with some inexplicable magic that places one word before another to create a rhythm and form that defies analysis and, like all art, there is the great, the good and the fabulously successful, but then there is genius.

"Once upon a time, a very long time ago now, last Friday, Winnie the Pooh lived in a forest", or "Before the high and far-off times, oh my best beloved, came the time of the Very Beginnings and that was in the days when the eldest magician was getting things ready", or "Once upon a time, on an uninhabited island on the shores of the Red Sea, there lived a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more than oriental splendour" - classic!

I might add that Kendall is forgetting one very important thing: The Harry Potter series were inspired, and in this particular case that inspiration came from a ride on the subway when JK Rowling happened to be looking out at a pasture with cows dotted across its length. The inspiration for the Potter series happened quite unexpectedly and suddenly. Would this not be categorized as "genius" or as a "genius moment," drawing upon preliminary mental images of this incredibly rich world in a single point in time?

To read the rest of this opinion, click hereopens in new window.

Browse Related Stories