New book captures passion of Harry Potter generation
The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling defined a generation of young readers. Now those readers are defining academic discourse on the Potter phenomenon. Born from one of St. Catherine University’s most popular literature courses, A Wizard of Their Age (SUNY Press) offers the latest scholarly insight on Harry Potter.
A Wizard of Their Age began when the students in Cecilia Konchar Farr’s “Six Degrees of Harry Potter” kept finding errors in the available scholarship. For many of these Potterphiles, the course was their fourth, fifth or even sixth time reading through the books. They expected more attention to the details they felt were significant in the Potter literature.
Deciding to test a “we can do better than this” hypothesis, Konchar Farr, two undergraduate teaching assistants, and five student editors issued a call for contributions and selected fifteen of the best academic essays by students from across the country.
The selected essays examine the Harry Potter books from a variety of perspectives, including literary, historical, cultural, gender, mythological, psychological, theological, and genetic—there is even a nursing care plan for Tom Riddle. The book also includes brief vignettes entitled “My Harry Potter Story,” where students share their personal experiences with the novels.
Lecture and public readings
As the outgoing Sr. Mona Riley Endowed Chair of the Humanities, Konchar Farr will deliver the lecture "A Wizard of Their Age: How Harry Potter Conjured a Generation of Readers" on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Jeanne d'Arc Auditorium, Whitby Hall on the St. Paul campus (#17 on the map). The public lecture will also include brief readings by many of the alumnae and ACTC contributors.
Magers & Quinn Booksellers hosts the official book launch the following evening, Friday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. at 3038 Hennepin Ave S in Minneapolis.
About Cecilia Konchar Farr
Konchar Farr is professor of English and Women’s Studies at St. Catherine University. She is the author of Reading Oprah: How Oprah’s Book Club Changed the Way America Reads and the coeditor (with Jaime Harker) of The Oprah Affect: Critical Essays on Oprah’s Book Club, both published by SUNY Press.