HPEF presents Infinitus 2010, a Harry Potter conference            TEXT  MENU

July 15-18, 2010
Orlando, Florida

When the Real Magic and Muggle Worlds Divided: Harry Potter's Roots in the Victorian Era
Katherine Bailey

Magic is loose in the world," says one of Robert Heinlein's characters in his 1942 short story "Waldo," which posits that the only condition necessary for magic to exist is a personal belief that it does. A case can be made that the last moment in Western culture when the magic and the muggle worlds truly coexisted was the Victorian era, when science and the supernatural were, in some important arenas, nearly equal contenders. Sadly for us, some might say, science won; but the legacy of that tension lives on in our modern Gothic spaces. This lecture will explore why the Victorian age is a natural parent to the Harry Potter world, in theoretical argument and in specific details throughout the books.

Katherine Bailey is a Ph.D. candidate in Interdisciplinary Humanities at The Florida State University. She is writing her dissertation on Victorian aesthetics in modern Gothic narratives. Her opinion piece on the value of HP's moral lessons for children was published in the Orlando Sentinel and reproduced on the ACLU's website.
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