Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition

Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition

Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition

Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Variations on the Fantasy Tradition

Synopsis

W.A. Senior establishes how Donaldson's serious intent and adult concerns, powerful mythopoesis, and manipulation of the conventions of epic fantasy add significantly to the field of contemporary fantasy fiction.

Excerpt

It is only since the rise of "realism" as an evaluative principle in criticism of the nineteenth century that fantasy has fallen into any sort of disrepute. in its broadest sense, fantasy is among the oldest literary devices known to man; so old, in fact, that even the term "literary devices" seems inadequate to describe the hold that myths, legends, fables and fairy tales have had on their audiences since primitive times. But despite this venerable history, fantasy has seldom been regarded as anything more than an adjunct to other forms of literature, a tool to be used by poets and storytellers to another end.

--Gary K. Wolfe, "Symbolic Fantasy"

I n recent years, the financial success and accession of individual science fiction and fantasy novels to the best-sellers list, the growing popularity of college courses on science fiction and fantasy, and the turn of academic and critical attention to both genres, especially by such notable figures in mainstream scholarship as Northrop Frye, Robert Scholes, Harold Bloom, and Leslie Fiedler, have begun to earn them respect and praise, both as elements in "serious" literature and as viable literary categories on their own. the first wave of influential works came in the 1960s with Tolkien Lord of the Rings, Herbert Dune, Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land, and Asimov Foundation Trilogy, all of which dealt with contemporary issues and attracted a readership that . . .

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