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Rhetorics of Fantasy [Paperback]

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Item description for Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn...

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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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wesleyan
Pages   306
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2008
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819568686  
ISBN13  9780819568687  

Availability  6 units.
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More About Farah Mendlesohn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Farah Mendlesohn is Reader in Science Fiction and Fantasy at Middlesex University. She was editor of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction from 2001 to 2007 and has also edited or co-edited several collections of essays, including Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature (with Edward James, first edition 2000, shortlisted for a Hugo Award in 2001). In 2003 she co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction with Edward James (which won the Hugo Award for Best Related Book at the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention). She has edited two anthologies of original science fiction and fantasy, including Glorifying Terrorism in 2007, and co-wrote A Short History of Fantasy (with Edward James, 2009). She is probably best known for her book Rhetorics of Fantasy (2008), which is recognised as one of the most significant contributions to the study of fantasy and was shortlisted for several awards, winning the British Science Fiction Association award. She is currently working on a book on children's fantasy for Cambridge University Press (with Michael Levey) and on a study of the children's writer Geoffrey Trease.

Farah Mendlesohn has an academic affiliation as follows - Middlesex University, London.

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techniques of different types of fantasy literature  May 20, 2008
Mendlesohn has read widely in the field of fantasy literature "for an understanding of the construction [word in italics in original] of the order to provide critic tools for further analysis." Teaching at London's Middlesex U., she is coauthor of The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction and other works.

Believing "that the fantastic is an area of literature that is heavily dependent on the dialectic between author and reader for the construction of a sense of wonder," the author sought to gain an understanding of how this sense of wonder which is the literature's main appeal for its readers is aroused. Mendlesohn identified four basic "constructions"--the portal-quest fantasy, the immersive fantasy, and intrusion fantasy, and the liminal fantasy. Each is somewhat self-explanatory from the author's name for it. Each creates a respective sense of wonder by its author's skilled, experienced employment of techniques proper to it.

Liminal fantasy is "that form of fantasy which estranges the reader from the fantastic as seen and described by the protagonist." Joan Aiken's story "Yes, But Today Is Tuesday" is analyzed as a prime example of the liminal fantasy. C. S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" represents the portal-quest fantasy. "The Lord of the Rings" is a classic quest fantasy. With each type of fantasy, Mendlesohn uses both familiar and obscure, often older works to impart her multipart perspective on the field.

As the author recognizes, fantasy works often have aspects of other types besides the type they fundamentally belong to. "Lord of the Rings," for instance, has aspects of immersive fantasy; this is found mostly in the scenes of the Shire. Though readers and critics may debate which type some fantasy works belong to, consideration of Mendlesohn's four major types--or categories--offer increased understanding of the field for critics, singular instruction for writers, and greater appreciation for the field's legions of readers.

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