Friday, December 19, 2003

Alchemists Unite...

Piggybacking off the previous post, in the November issue of Touchstone Magazine, there is an article by John Granger titled, The Alchemist’s Tale: Harry Potter & the Alchemical Tradition in English Literature. In it, Granger proposes that J. K. Rowling employs the English tradition of the use of alchemical symbolism. That's interesting in its own right, but what caught my eye was one paragraph in which Granger describes the process with which Rowling may have structured her initial novel. Note that in my previous post I was debating whether technology has significantly improved our productivity, or whether it has merely changed our methodologies. Here's what Granger writes, "Rowling has said in several interviews that her books’ inspirations are drawn from the compost in her mind of all the books she has read. She did not say, however, that her inspiration went without careful sifting and plotting (some seven years before the first book was written). Her characters, plots, themes, and imagery were not items that she picked from the top of her imaginative pile without discernment." I continue to argue that technology has had only localized impacts on productivity. As for Rowling's works, these impacts would be along the lines of: speed of printing, ability to revise quickly, indexing, etc. These are all important, of course; but I suspect the detail structure of the work, the meat, if you will, was done much prior to her flipping the "on" switch to her computer.

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