Fall 2022 Undergraduate English Courses

358:363 Fantasy Fiction

01  CAC   MW4   07913   JACKSON   FH-B5

Fantasy Fiction


Under the rubric of “Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture,” we will study some of the seminal works and writers of twentieth-century fantasy fiction, focusing on award-winning authors: Tolkien and George R. R. Martin, to Michael Crichton, Lois McMaster, Terry Pratchett, and Philip K. Dick and Octavia Butler (the architects of the sci-fi crossover), among others.  What is the genre’s key influences?  How has fantasy fiction reflected broader historical and cultural trends?  How has it mediated national and global anxiety and fears about the future, science, secularization, global warming, war, and other existential concerns?  Which critical approaches can help us better understand the implications of key works?  Finally, one of our tasks will be to explore the increasing crossover between fantasy and science fiction. What about science fiction’s distrust of humanism, for example, now appeals to fantasy fiction, the genre that preserved a deistic universe from the disenchanted forces of modern secularism?