The Alchemist’s Tale
Harry Potter & the Alchemical Tradition in English Literature
by John Granger
In her Harry Potter books, J. K. Rowling looks at the world diagonally and sees its magic. I believe this diagonal vision springs from her classical education and its ideas of truth, love, and beauty, and her consequent discomfort with modernity and with modern ideas and institutions. She conveys the world’s magic as a traditional English writer writing within the traditions of her genre. And one of these traditions is the use of alchemical symbolism to convey spiritual realities.
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John Granger is an Orthodox Reader and the author of several books about Harry Potter, including How Harry Cast His Spell (SaltRiver, 2008) and The Deathly Hallows Lectures (Zossima Press, 2008). His website is HogwartsProfessor.com.
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