Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rings, Swords and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature

These lectures almost inspired me to read some fantasy books. However, the size of the books is always intimidating. (Not to mention the fact that they tend to be boring.) However, some of the pre-Tolkein fantasy books do look like they may be worth pursuing.

The bulk of the lectures concern J.R.R. Tolkein and his Lord of the Rings. he is given extra credit for giving the linguists touch to his work and creating large "full" worlds. Many others are seen as responding to or imitating his work. In other words, the dominant form of today's popular entertainment is dominated by one person. Quite impressive. Though perhaps stretching things a little too far.

The other obervation is that fantasy often deals with "needs" rather than wants and tends to be really long. The length is definately accurate, and what has often turned me off. Sure they are full worlds. But it takes a huge effort to get in to them. Once the effort is taken, going further may be worthwhile, but why take the effort?

The lost bit touched on some non-Tolkein fantasy, such as the "King Arthur" fantasy and magical realism. T.H. White, Borges, Garcia-Marquez, etc. Now this stuff sounds interesting. Perhaps there is some fantasy for me after all.

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