We have all been waiting eagerly to see what projects J.K. Rowling will embark upon in the post-Harry Potter days. News that she has not only chosen a project
, but completed
it -- a volume of fairy tales entitled The Tales of Beedle the Bard
-- is thrilling indeed. Except when you read further. Only seven copies will be
handwritten. The seventh one (the other six were gifts) will be sold at auction, with a starting price of $62,000. Given that a first-edition Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone sold for $40,00
0, it seems that this volume will sell for far more.
While the proceeds are headed to charity (surely a laudable goal), something in this news makes me queasy. When J.K. Rowling burst to the scene with her first Harry Potter books, much was made of her struggling, lower-class background: the welfare mom made good. And many pundits have lauded her tales for making reading exciting again for children everywhere. She made literature relevant to even those who were, like she was once, just squeaking by.
So the concept of exclusive literature leaves me cold. If you're interested in the etymology, however, it's more than appropriate: a bard was a poet
employed by the wealthy to tell tales of their great deeds. I always thought of J.K. Rowling as something far more free-spirited; but it this bard's tales will only be told to a few.
A commenter pointed out that I was incorrect that these would be printed
-- the books are handwritten. However, the commenter says these copies will be available to the public; that is not true according to this source