Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is Anagogical?

I love to come across unfamiliar words. I enjoy tracking them down to their lair and discovering their meanings, usage and pronunciation.

The word today, anagogical, comes from John Granger in Harry Potter's Bookshelf. The definition comes from Merriam-Webster online:

"interpretation of a word, passage, or text (as of Scripture or poetry) that finds beyond the literal, allegorical, and moral senses a fourth and ultimate spiritual or mystical sense"

Of the several online dictionaries I checked, only Merriam-Webster puts anagogical in its proper literary context of four interpretations of a text. Granger applies all four interpretations to the Harry Potter books, beginning with the literal and ending with the mystical (anagogical) sense of the plot, action, dialog, names, colors and numbers in the books.

Some of Granger's revelations are not only stunning to me, but so obvious once they were pointed out that I was embarrassed to not have seen them already.

(Anagogical is a word new to the spell checker for eblogger - it keeps wanting me to change it to 'analogical', which is not at all the same. What a difference one letter makes.)

I have seen most of the Harry Potter movies, but have not read the books. Now I am happily anticipating reading all of them.

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