Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

June Books 4) The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature, ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn

Fantasy is not so much a mansion as a row of terraced houses, such as the one that entranced us in C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew with its connecting attics, each with a door that leads into another world.
One of this year's Hugo nominees for Best Related Work, this is an excellent set of essays on various aspects of the fantasy literature, with a very strong historical introduction (apart from a bizarre chapter on children's fantasy), a middle section on various literary approaches to the genre, and a concluding section on various subgenres or "clusters", with a much better chapter on children's fantasy. When I read books like this I want i) a better understanding of books I have already read and ii) suggestions of books I might read in the future which may appeal to me, and I was fully satisfied on both points. In particular I note that many chapters referenced Rosemary Jackson's Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, which I must now look out for. (Other individuals with more than ten references in the index: King Arthur, Jorge Luis Borges, John Clute, Sigmund Freud, Neil Gaiman, Alan Garner, Elizabeth Hand, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Ursula K. Le Guin, C.S. Lewis, H.P. Lovecraft, George MacDonald, Farah Mendlesohn, China Miéville, Edgar Allan Poe, Philip Pullman, and - way in the lead - J.R.R. Tolkien.) Strongly recommended.
Tags: bookblog 2013, hugos 2013, writer: edward james, writer: farah mendlesohn
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