December 21st, 2006

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Links galore

Happy Winter Solstice!

I am grateful to all of you who have sent me wonderful cards this season. It's been great fun receiving them from all over the world! Many thanks to you, and best wishes for a fabulous holiday.

Here are a couple of links of possible interest:
* Ursula Le Guin challenges the idea that fantasy literature is just for children in her article "Imaginary Friends" in this week's New Statesman.
* Julia Ward posted "The Five: Reasons I won't be watching The Prisoner TV remake" yesterday at tvsquad. (Thanks to jasonbsizemore for the link.)

And a few study/research sites to recommend, while they are on my mind:
* Arthur Complete: Arthuriana Study and Pedagogy
* An Academic Guide to the Literature of Science Fiction
* King Arthur Forever: An Online Guide to Studying and Teaching the Arthurian Tradition
* The Gothic: Materials for Study
* The Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction
* Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database

The Harry Potter phenomenon, a fantasy aimed at sub-teenagers becoming a great best-seller among adults, confirmed that fantasy builds a two-way bridge across the generation gaps. Adults trying to explain their enthusiasm told me: "I haven't read anything like that since I was ten!" And I think this was simply true. Discouraged by critical prejudice, rigid segregation of books by age and genre, and unconscious maturismo, many people literally hadn't read any imaginative literature since childhood. Rapid, immense success made this book respectable, indeed obligatory, reading. So they read it, and rediscovered the pleasure of reading fantasy - which may be inferior only to the pleasure of rereading it.
- Ursula Le Guin, "Imaginary Friends"
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Excalibur/Arthur

A quick Harry Potter note

Just hours after I posted some Arthurian research links, I learned the apparent name of the next Harry Potter novel (HP and the Deathly Hallows), which springs directly from the Arthurian tradition. How's that for timing? (I gather that this is a comparison between the Grail Hallows, or Hallows of Britain/Ireland - either four or thirteen, depending on the source text - and the Horcruxes, which certainly complicates and enriches the possibilities of what we may see in Book 7. This could get very interesting indeed. Not that we didn't already know that...)

This reminds me: an article I'd recommend, though it's now a bit dated, is "The Harry Potter Series and French Arthurian Romance" by Heather Arden and Kathryn Lorenz, from the Summer 2003 (vol. 13, no. 2) issue of Arthuriana.

Postscript: On another note, I find it interesting (re: Harry Potter) that Arthur slays Lucius in many versions of the Arthurian tales, including Le Morte d'Arthur itself (Book V Chapter VIII). Weasley-Malfoy rematch, anyone? We'll see.