Sunday, January 30, 2022

About Harry Potter

Another day, another scare story about that poorly-defined phantom of “wokeness” invading the dreaming spires. This time it’s the University of Chester, where, we are informed by the Mail, Telegraph and other doughty defenders of high culture, a trigger warning about “gender, race, sexuality, class and identity” was appended to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Not so, counters the university; it was a general warning, which also applies to the works of Philip Pullman and Suzanne Collins.

So that’s all right then. Unless you think it odd that undergraduates on an Eng Lit course should spend quite so long reading what are, essentially, books for kids. That said, I’m reading Frank Furedi’s Where Have All The Intellectuals Gone?, which points out that many undergraduates can go a year without reading a whole book. So maybe the Chester students’ workload is unusually rigorous.


Roger Allen said...

What are these students studying? Or is it assumed they read the rest for pleasure? When do children become so sensitive that they can't read children's books?
What would they make of Swallows & Amazons (apart from its other challenges to "wokeness") where their father responds to the question of his children sailing with "Only duffers drown! Better drowned than duffers!"?

It sounds horribly as if I might find myself agreeing with Frank Furedi - a frightening thought.

Tim F said...

I know what you mean about FF, Roger. I suspect this story has been pimped a little to hit our outrage buttons - but yes, setting a book that the majority of your students have probably read already, probably several times, does seem a little... easy?