Remembering the great Byatt debate

  January 13, 2004 at 4:12 PM ET
  Cheeser     HPANA

On the final day of 2003, Slate published a small recap of eventsopens in new window started by literary critic A.S. Byatt's scathing July review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

In what Salon calledopens in new window a "goblet of bile," Byatt opined that JK Rowling's enormously popular series was written for "people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons." Her comments touched off a lively and very heated counteroffensive in the HP community.

Stephen King even jumped in to the fray, blasting critics for being out of touch with readers, in his acceptance speech for a National Book Awardopens in new window. (For the record, King's review of Phoenix - published only days before Byatt's - was quite favorable.)

(British columnist Michelle Pauli of The Guardian also recapsopens in new window the momentous month in her review of 2003's top stories.)

Byatt's comments generated so much chatter that HPANA created an entire archive to permanently record her blunder. Relive the madness anytime by going to the A.S. Byatt topic in our News Browser.


Browse Related Stories