Popular Literature and the Moral Imagination

Popular Literature and the Moral Imagination

  I incline to the shocking conclusion that it is just the literature that we read for amusement, or purely for pleasure, that may have the greatest and least suspected influence upon us. It is literature we read with the least effort that can have the easiest and most insidious influence upon us. Hence it is that the influence of popular novelists, and of popular playwrights of contemporary life, requires to be scrutinized most closely.

T. S. Eliot in “Religion and Literature” quoted in Moral Imagination, Humane Letters, and the Renewal of Society
by Vigen Guroian, Ph.D.

I haven’t read the last Harry Potter novel yet and am declining to draw any conclusions about the series until I have done so. But in the meantime, here’s something to mull over.

Some people have responded to criticisms of HP by saying lighten up, it’s just light reading. But Eliot’s argument is that is precisely why we should be concerned by any negative influence which the series does exert.

Disabling comments because, like I said, I don’t want to get into any HP debates or discussions until I’ve had time to read the final book.



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  • What a sweetie!  My little one (21 months now) has started to genuflect, takes great interest in holy water, and has been trying to make the Sign of the Cross off & on probably since she was Bella’s age.  It is so sweet to see the babies react to our demonstrations of faith and holy places!  It is one of the things I looked forward to when we were trying to conceive her, being newly Catholic myself and dealing with my son’s questions!  smile

  • She does a “Hail” (hello) Mary!

    What an neat picture / scripture mingling…..

    Thanks for sharing it

  • How precious your child is!  And can I tell you that I am so happy to see you always have a hat on her when you are outside.  It makes me crazy to see babies and toddlers wandering around in the heat with no hat..especially when they often have so little hair!  Ah yes, I am definitely my mother’s daughter—her words come out of my mouth more and more as I get older.  wink