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Fantasy is a creation of the Enlightenment and the recognition that excitement and wonder can be found in imagining impossible things. From the ghost stories of the Gothic to the zombies and vampires of twenty-first-century popular literature, from Mrs Radcliffe to Ms Rowling, the fantastic has been popular with readers. Since Tolkien and his many imitators, however, it has become a major publishing phenomenon. In this volume, critics and authors of fantasy look at the history of fantasy since the Enlightenment, introduce readers to some of the different codes for the reading and understanding of fantasy and examine some of the many varieties and subgenres of fantasy; from magical realism at the more literary end of the genre, to paranormal romance at the more popular end. The book is edited by the same pair who edited The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (winner of a Hugo Award in 2005).
Joanna Russ, a feminist writer best known for The Female Man (1975), has produced a fierce, intense body of fiction and essays whose influence has been wide-ranging and complex. Her many publications include How to Suppress Women's Writing (1983), and she has won both of science fiction's most prestigious awards, the Nebula and the Hugo. The essays in this volume examine every aspect of Russ's body of work and provide a critical assessment that is long overdue. The first part of the book, "Criticism and Community," gives readers a context for and overview of Russ's works, and includes discussions of Russ's role in the creation of a feminist science fiction tradition. The second part, "Fiction," offers detailed analyses of some of Russ's writing. Contributors include: Andrew M. Butler, Brian Charles Clark, Samuel R. Delany, Edward James , Sandra Lindow, Keridwen Luis, Paul March-Russell, Helen Merrick, Dianne Newell, Graham Sleight, Jenea Tallentire, Jason Vest, Sherryl Vint, Pat Wheeler, Tess Williams, Gary K. Wolfe, and Lisa Yaszek.
Transcending arguments over the definition of fantasy literature, Rhetorics of Fantasy introduces a provocative new system of classification for the genre. Utilizing nearly two hundred examples of modern fantasy, author Farah Mendlesohn uses this system to explore how fiction writers construct their fantastic worlds. Mendlesohn posits four categories of fantasy--portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, and liminal--that arise out of the relationship of the protagonist to the fantasy world. Using these sets, Mendlesohn argues that the author's stylistic decisions are then shaped by the inescapably political demands of the category in which they choose to write. Each chapter covers at least twenty books in detail, ranging from nineteenth-century fantasy and horror to extensive coverage of some of the best books in the contemporary field. Offering a wide-ranging discussion and penetrating comparative analysis, Rhetorics of Fantasy will excite fans and provide a wealth of material for scholarly and classroom discussion.Includes discussion of works by over 100 authors, including Lloyd Alexander, Peter Beagle, Marion Zimmer Bradley, John Crowley, Stephen R. Donaldson, Stephen King, C. S. Lewis, Gregory Maguire, Robin McKinley, China Mieville, Suniti Namjoshi, Philip Pullman, J. K. Rowling, Sheri S. Tepper, J. R. R. Tolkien, Tad Williams
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