Taking up the various conceptions of heroism that are conjured in the Harry Potter series, this collection examines the ways fictional heroism in the twenty-first century challenges the idealized forms of a somewhat simplistic masculinity associated with genres like the epic, romance and classic adventure story. The collection's three sections address broad issues related to genre, Harry Potter's development as the central heroic character and the question of who qualifies as a hero in the Harry Potter series. Among the topics are Harry Potter as both epic and postmodern hero, the series as a modern-day example of psychomachia, the series' indebtedness to the Gothic tradition, Harry's development in the first six film adaptations, Harry Potter and the idea of the English gentleman, Hermione Granger's explicitly female version of heroism, adult role models in Harry Potter, and the complex depictions of heroism exhibited by the series' minor characters. Together, the essays suggest that the Harry Potter novels rely on established generic, moral and popular codes to develop new and genuine ways of expressing what a globalized world has applauded as ethically exemplary models of heroism based on responsibility, courage, humility and kindness.
Katrin Berndt is assistant professor of English and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Bremen University, and Lena Steveker is assistant professor of British Literary and Cultural Studies at Saarland University, Germany.
'Heroism in the Harry Potter Series provides a neat cross-section of the conversations to date about Rowling's best-selling series. The lens of heroism, as this collection demonstrates, can offer new perspectives on earlier ways of reading the series - genre, gender, religion, archetype, philosophy, psychology, and postmodernism - and point readers towards new areas of exploration.' Karin E. Westman, Kansas State University, USA 'A worthwhile scholarly collection. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and general readers.' Choice '... there is real stimulation here, in the essays of Katrin Berndt, Julia Boll, Nadine BÃ¶hm, Maria Nikolajeva and Lena Steveker. Who would have thought that the Harry Potter novels 'can be read on a certain level as Snape's rather than Harry's story?' Children's Books History Society Newsletter 'It is a tribute to the organizing talent of the editors that the contributions are of consistent quality. All begin with a clear exposition culminating in a thesis that is subsequently worked out carefully and concluded by a final statement. Together, they demonstrate how the use of various points of view results in different findings that, due to the multiple ambiguities of the text, complement rather than contradict each other.' Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Anglistik und Amerikanistik '... this collection provides much food for thought on Harry Potter.' International Research in Children’s Literature Accessible, well-wrought and easy to work with, Heroism in the Harry Potter Series is a valuable asset to scholars from undergraduate to established, to libraries and to fans of the series who are willing to have their love challenged in new ways.' English Studies