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St Andrews School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
|News||Thu, 17 May 2012||Tweet|
by The Stand
Academics from around the world have converged on St Andrews for A Brand of Fictional Magic: Reading Harry Potter as Literature. The St Andrews event is the UK’s first academic conference on J K Rowling's seven-book series, and the first in the world to discuss Harry Potter as a strictly literary text.
The conference will span today and tomorrow, in a series of almost 50 lectures aimed to redress the lack of direct study on the Harry Potter books as literature. The lectures will cover topics ranging from how the books deal with death, paganism, magic and the use of food, as well as the literary influences of writers including J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, Shakespeare and Scottish folklore. A provisional schedule of events, already underway, can be found here.
One of the keynote speakers, John Granger, has even been dubbed by TIME magazine as 'The Dean of Harry Potter Scholars'. Speaking ahead of the event, Granger commented, “The Hogwarts Saga is the most loved story in the history of publishing by quite a margin and, consequently, it is a natural and important subject of study for anyone interested in the literary arts. I take exception to the unexamined and misinformed assumption that the books are ‘light on literary merit.’"
On setting the lectures at the University of St Andrews, Granger added, "Hogwarts, we're told, is hidden somewhere in Scotland, the author lives here, too, and Ms Rowling's mother was half Scot. It's somehow appropriate and fitting that the first academic conference of any size be held at Scotland's oldest university, St Andrews.”
The Stand has yet to confirm rumours that Professor Severus Snape will be delivering his famous lecture, 'The Politics of Love Potions: How Kate brewed her way to the throne'.
An anthology based on the conference is planned for publication in 2013. The Stand is keeping its fingers crossed that, with its recent scientific/magical research into the subject, The University may even throw in a complimentary invisibility cloak.
Photo: © Clive O'Neill, The Scotsman