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A.S. Byatt and J.K. Rowling: High Lit versus Pop Lit

April 29, 2009

I like this. I tend overall to not agree with the writer of this article, who slams Byatt’s criticism of Rowling’s work(mm, double layers of literary slamming, how delicious) and agree rather with Byatt instead, but his conclusion I do agree with.

“It’s not making distinctions between high culture and pop culture that I object to. It’s the either/or scenario proposed by high-culture guardians like Byatt that seems so churlish, so ready to make the appreciation of high culture seem the dreary duty it was when we were schoolchildren. “The only reason people read is pleasure,” Leslie Fiedler once said. And I’ll end by offering another Fiedler quote that should keep Byatt and the other keepers of the cultural flame up nights. In a Salon interview a few weeks before his death, Fiedler related a story about enraging a group of academics by announcing that when he and they were all dead and forgotten, people were still going to be reading Stephen King. The ugly truth that A.S. Byatt and Harold Bloom have yet to face is that when they have been reduced to footnotes, people are still going to be reading and enjoying the Harry Potter books. And somewhere, J.K. Rowling, keeping company with Dumas and Conan Doyle and the other “nonliterary” writers who live on, will be laughing.”

via A.S. Byatt and the goblet of bile – Page 2 – Salon.com.

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