Saturday, July 23, 2011

J.K. Rowling and Shakespeare: Do They Compare?

On July 22, 1598, Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was entered on the Stationers' Register, according to That's Mr. William Shakespeare, the literary icon, for anyone who slept through English Literature in high school.

The Merchant of Venice, was one of the Bard's many plays, his bread and butter. It's how Shakespeare made a living. I was reading a post on The Guardian's site, The theology of Harry Potter. The post received hundreds of comments. Many from readers who did not see the value of a Christian theology and Harry Potter class being offered at a university.

As I read through the comments, I noticed an argument forming in some of the comments: Rowling's work is popular fiction not really worthy of academic study as literature. And of course, the comparison was made to Shakespeare's work. His work is worth studying.

What do you think? Share your comments below.

I am the first to say that the Bard is "THE MAN!" I can't help but conclude, however, that Shakespeare wasn't always "THE MAN!" In his day, Shakespeare was doing then what Rowling has been doing now: giving the audience what it wants and earning a living doing it. He was successful. She is, of course, wicked successful. That is how Rowling and Shakespeare compare to me, at least. 

Now, if I could have some of Shakespeare's staying power and Rowling's earnings, I'd be set.

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