Our fascination with magic knows no bounds. It grows and shapes our culture. We are muggles searching for the portal that can whisk us free of our mundane lives.
By Erika Mills ~
J. K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the debut novel in the seven-book series that became a pop culture phenomenon, on June 26, 1997. Over the past two decades, the exploits of the boy wizard and his friends have spawned successful cinematic and theater adaptations, developed a devoted and enthusiastic global fandom, inspired admirers to create Harry Potter-themed art and media, instilled important moral lessons into a generation of young people now coming of age, and even added to the English lexicon! (See: “Muggle” in the Oxford English Dictionary.) The NLM History of Medicine Division celebrates the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter with special events onsite, as well as a five-post series in Circulating Now.
While the world reflects on 20 years of Harry Potter, we look back further in time—to the Renaissance—at the history that inspired some of the…
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