Visionary Debate: J.K. Rowling vs Charles Dickens

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Sep 04, 2007

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

Author J.K. Rowling or author Charles Dickens: which was the greater visionary? This is the question a new series on the BBC is asking, with a special episode to feature the two authors later this month. Focusing on the “worlds of art, music, architecture, science and literature,” this new television series in the UK is featuring several of the leading personalities in these fields, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. The episode on JKR and literary great Charles Dickens, known for his classic works such as Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and A Christmas Carol is set to air September 29 at 0930 GMT on BBC World. Fans can vote who they feel the greater visionary is here, via this link.

The producers blog has the following about filming the segment on J.K. Rowling:

“Later we went to JK Rowling’s home town of Edinburgh with her advocate Kirsty Wark. We filmed in some wonderfully evocative locations including Edinburgh Castle and Prestonfield. It was great that Kirsty brought her son along to the shoot, as he has grown up reading the Harry Potter books and is enraptured by the world Rowling has created. Queuing up with several thousand Potter fans on the night that the final book came out was also a real experience. People at the front of the queue had arrived days before and travelled from all round Europe. Even though they were cold and drenched through from our British summer of rain, they sang merrily to keep themselves warm and were entertained by the magicians and other entertainment that the book shops had laid on. When midnight struck and the crowds were let in, there were faces of pure elation from those who were at last able to get their hands on the final installment, leaving us with no doubt of the massive publishing phenomenon Rowling has created.”

Thanks to the reader who emailed!





32 Responses to Visionary Debate: J.K. Rowling vs Charles Dickens

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I didn’t want to vote because I thought for sure JKR would surpass Dickens because of her rather large online fan base, and I do quite like Dickens, but seeing that he’s 30% above her right now, I went ahead and voted. Surprising results!

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Hmm, it is not really fair to compare JKR to Dickens.

I love them both but only time will tell if her works are true classics and valued by future generations as well.

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oh man some snobby english majors’ heads are going to explode when i send them this link :D

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oh no! JKR is only 40%?

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That’s far too difficult a decision to make. I love both Dickens and JK Rowling.

They are both acute social commentators who have a talent for creating wonderful characters, from the ridiculous to the downright nasty. Both usually base their stories around a stout-hearted, pure central character.And both have a fabulous flair for wit!

I might lean towards JK Rowling slightly more because of the voracious literary appetite she stirs up in me, but I would probably attribute that to her more accesible language and less digressive storylines.

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Vote vote vote we can make Jo win XD

Whyyy are they putting it on effing BBC World? Put it on BBC1 people! I don’t know whether we get BBC World or not =S

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oh sweet i get bbcworld, but doesn’t bbc make pretty much all their shows streamable anyways? i’m sure you’ll be able to find it on youtube the next day.

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Yeah, but watching Jo on TV is more special than seeing it on YouTube ;) Plus I record all HP stuff that I can so I want to put that on my video!

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Does “visionary” have a different meaning in the UK? Here in the US it implies seeing (or trying to) into the future. A Jules Verne type of thing.

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I’m afraid I haven’t read Dickens, so I can’t vote (what a shame!). But Jo is a visionary herself, I am sure :) maybe borth are visionaries.

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@ GVC yeah…. i have the same doubt… quite confusing…

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one of the definitions of “visionary” refers to imagination, not just seeing into the future.

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At the mo’ Dickens and Rowling are 50-50! That’s pretty much amazing. You know what’s not so much amazing? Madonna beating Mozart 90-10% right now. That’s just sickening.

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Pitting JK Rowling against Charles Dickens is way way pre-mature if not unecessary altogether. JK Rowling is my hero. Full stop. But just becasue she is my hero does not mean she is the greatest writer that ever lived. And you can bet that many of us fans will be voting on the BBC without having read any Dickens. Dickens is by far the most accomplished to date. I have read oliver Twist and I have to say it is a great read but not as enjoyable because of the difference in language period. It doesnt make sense to compare the two on a voting system. I will watch the program with much glee but I will not give a dam about who wins because who ever wins won becasue they have the bigger fan base or bigger anti Rowling/Dickens. neither will win on who is actually the greatest.

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Umm, you need to give this about 200 years before anybody will be able to fairly compare these two authors. :/

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guys one of the other polls pitts mozart against madonna, don’t take it so seriously.

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Definitely voted Rowling, but perhaps it’s because I spent far too long studying Dickens at school and it got a bit too formalised for me, though I do still enjoy it a little. I suppose in some ways it may be premature to compare the two writers, but I can see where there might be similarities to look at. Their popularity and their slightly contentious ‘literary’ value in the eyes of their academic contemporaries has to be taken into account. They are also both acute social commentators, and there are even parallels in the way that they characterise in their work. I would perhaps rank Rowling higher because her work is a little more nuanced. There’s never usually anything subtle about Dickens, and the style suits him well, but it does make Rowling more palatable.

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Dickens was in my belief a great social comentator of the disgusting and appauling conditions that were “life” for most people in the country. Jo writes about a different view of life dealing with good vs evil. There can be no comparison ! For the rest of the poll it would not be possible to have the latter without the contribution that the former had made to their field of life.

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JK.ROWLING ALL THE WAY!!!!!!! VOTE JO!!!!

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it’s not about who’s the best writer in general, it’s about who’s the most visionary of the two. And i think that in that particular respect JKR does beat Dickens

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What do they mean by visionary? Because Dickens was more a social commentator wasn’t he?

oh I see Flittwick has already said this, but I’ll post it anyway :)

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Incidentally, Dickens always adapts exceptionally well to TV drama or film. Maybe that’s the ‘visionary’ in him; he saw film potential ahead of his time!

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I am a HUGE fan of Jo Rowling and her wonderful books.The Harry Potter novels have greatly influenced my personality and are forever linked with my childhood.I consider them a great piece of literature and I strongly believe that they will be read countless times by the future generations as well,but I also DO think that Jo’s work and way of writing have not achieved enough maturity to be compared to the work of Charles Dickens. I voted for him and I dare say that Jo Rowling would have done the same…I am looking forward to the future projects of Mrs.Rowling and I am confident that her books will ever improve and even surpass Mr.Dickens!I have one thing to say to those BBCworld people who came up with this idea:”too soon people!!”

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It’s not fair to compare the two. But.. for all that Dickens accomplished, I’d have to vote for him.

He was the FIRST author to sell his books for prices low enough so the everyone could buy them. Before Dickens, people only had the Bible or if they were richer, Pilgrim’s Progress. But Dickens spread reading to everyone.

I am sure that in a few hundred years, JKR will be as big as Dickens. Yes, her fandom is huge and she wrote one of my favorite stories of all time.

But Dickens literally changed the world.

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I adore the Harry Potter series but I cannot believe JK is beating Dickens, shows what happens when a poll like this is revealed to fans like this who will vote purely cos they love the Potter series and not about who the better visionary was (as asked). Sad. JK’s a great writer but she’s only had 7 books published and while they are wonderful we don’t know how popular they will be in another centuary.

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I could NOT have said it any better Peeved. There is NO comparison between Dickens and Rowling. I love HP dearly, but Jo has a LONG way to go before she can be considered in the same company as Dickens. This vote is based purely on current popularity rather than who is more deserving of the recognition. It’s really sad that this is even being done, for fun or not. Kinda disrespectful if you ask me.

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Actually, seeing as Jo herself is a HUGE Dicken’s fan, she’d be disappointed if we didn’t vote for him methinks…

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Jo’s winning now unsurprisingly, but it is a little silly. Jo’s books are better as far as I’m concerned, as is a lot of modern storytelling. I’m very critical of books from past times when put alongside modern storytelling principles. That said, we’re asked who is the best visionary, which is quite different. How can Jo beat Dickens in that category? That’s a little nuts imo.

What bugs me the most is Mozart vs Madonna though. I mean, come ON. Did Madonna completely change the face of music for the next century? I don’t buy it. Is she a genius? Hardly; she had the right people, who were in the right places at the right times. I’m not knocking Madonna. She is what she is. But how she gets 80% on Mozart… that’s just stupid.

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Mozart vs Madonna? are you kidding me. Madonna has not even done what michael jackson accomplished. what are they thinking?

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I haven’t read any of Dicken’s books (I will eventually), but I know that Dickens has to have done some great work. I’m not saying Jo’s a bad writer, and I really enjoy her books, but she’s not as great of a writer as people say. I’m not hating on jo at all, I’m just saying. Harry Potter is only one series, and JKR plans to continue writing. Her style will probably improve in the future.

I think that it’s outrageous that Jo has 71% of the votes and Dickens has 29%. While it is a matter of opinion (if you really think that Jo’s “visionary” or whatever is better, then that’s fine), I’m sure that a lot of votes for Jo come from people who are just huge fans of the books. Seriously, I can’t stand people who act like Harry Potter is the only great book series in the world. There’s nothing wrong with really loving the books, but it is wrong if it gets to the point where you won’t read anything else, or if you consider every other book inferior to Harry Potter without having read them.

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What I would like to see on this site is one about film directors, such as George Lucas or Steven Spielberg. I wonder who would get the most votes (my vote might go to Spielberg, but I’m not sure. I loved Lucas’s work on the original Star Wars film. The ones he directed were the original and the prequels. I didn’t really like the prequels much, except for Episode III. Spielberg, on the other hand, seems to have better directing skills, but I really need to see the Indy Jones trilogy.)

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well. needless to say, i voted for Jo. and i just cannot begin to explain just how much of a visionary… the incredible worlds she’s created that has captivated me unlike anything else.

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