Fantasy Literature: Tales Before and After Tolkien
From Victorian Fairy Tales to Modern Imaginary Worlds
Course Length: 12 weeks (including a reading week & essay writing week)
Entry Requirements: None
Course Content: This course will explore the fascinating world of fantasy literature, from its Victorian roots to its most recent examples. We will start with Victorian and Edwardian fantasists (William Morris, George MacDonald, and the mythology of childhood developed by Charles Kingsley and J.M. Barrie), explore the enormous impact on fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; evaluate Tolkien’s legacy (C.S. Lewis Narnia books, and Terry Brooks and Stephen Donaldson’s work); look at the best works of American fantasy (including Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz and Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series) and debate whether science fantasy exists as a sub-genre by looking at Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the Star Wars (extended) mythology. We will end with looking at fantasy in contemporary popular culture, focusing on TV fantasy and its powerful female heroines (including the mythology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and some discussion of the future of fantasy as a literary and popular culture genre.
• To introduce and differentiate between modes and types of fantasy literature
• To examine the origins and major themes in fantasy literature
• To explore the literary conventions and stylistic devices employed in fantasy literature
• To explore how fantasy literature responds to contemporary cultural changes and intellectual and social developments
• To investigate recent critical and theoretical debates about fantasy literature
• To analyse and re-evaluate the classification of fantasy literature as “genre” or “popular” fiction
Academic Credit: 20 credits at Year 3 Undergraduate Level
Course aimed at: Undergraduate students and adult learners interested in fantasy literature
Programme Leader: Dr Dimitra Fimi
Additional Information: This is an online course, delivered through Cardiff Met's virtual learning environment.
Additional courses of interest: J.R.R. Tolkien: Myth and Middle-earth in Context
Enrolment and payment information can be found on the Tolkien and Fantasy home page.