The Potter phenomenon
Sir, - After reading Anthony Farrell's letter in which he describes J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books as "plot-driven-populism", I was able to think of one or two other examples. The works of Dickens, Shakespeare, Austen and Wodehouse could all be described in the same way, written as they were with both coherent plots and a view to reaching as many people as possible. Mr Farrell accuses Kevin Myers of having a patronising view of old and young Irish readers, an argument which, in light of his own rather pompous comments - he describes Harry Potter readers (and there are plenty of them) as "non-brow Billy Bunter fantasists" - comes across unconvincingly. Tolkien, whom he praises had nothing to do, of course, with the "spells and potions" on which he accuses Rowling of relying.
Throughout his letter Mr Farrell implies that it is wrong for children to escape into a book, that they should be forced to yawn their way through something too old for them. No doubt he and his aptly-named Lilliput Press will be able to save Irish children and adults from a fate worse than death, namely, the enjoyment of readable fiction! - Yours etc.,
Max O'Sullivan, Lower Beechwood Avenue, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.