Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Another Blow In the Literary Class Wars

I was deeply saddened when A. S. Byatt, one of my favorite authors, joined the Harry Potter naysayers claiming that the books were poorly written wish fulfillment and only readers whose literary palates had been jaded by overexposure to pop culture would want to read them. Byatt joins the chorus of literary critics denouncing the popularity of Rowling's books and drawing strict battle lines between such middle brow fair and true high culture (and denouncing cultural studies for endowing popular literature with the stamp of academic approval.)

Salon's Charles Tayler has written a concise and literate rebuttal to this argument. Tayler reveals Byatt's position for the thin and shabby thing that it is, while recognizing the inherent impossibility of dividing literature into such narrowly defined camps.


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