An ever-expanding critical library on fantasy fiction requires an analysis of why the genre is so ubiquitous, enduring and beloved. This work analyzes the mythic elements in foundational fantasy texts, arguing that mythopoeic fantasy reveals timeless truths that link human cultures past and present. Through close readings of works like Phantastes, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Neverending Story, A Wrinkle in Time and Out of the Silent Planet, this book explores how mythopoeic fantasy speaks to the deepest concerns of the human heart. It investigates the genre’s use of an imagination that is sometimes atrophied by the demands of contemporary life, and explores how fantasy provides restoration, consolation and hope within a cultural context that too often decries such ideas.
Each chapter focuses on a representative text, providing author background and engaging relevant scholarship on a variety of critical thematic issues. Offering new insights on these classic texts by drawing upon post-secular critical approaches, this work is suitable for both new and seasoned students of fantasy.
“The interpretation of fantasy as an ‘anti-reductionist’ form of literature is insightful and important, and its application to the chosen examples is convincing and often elucidates them in ways that seem to me to get at the heart of what they truly are and why they are valuable.”
—Donald T. Williams, professor emeritus, Toccoa Falls College
“This thought-provoking book offers a full course of study in well-chosen works of Mythopoeia, including those of MacDonald, Tolkien, and Lewis, but also of writers with surprising affinities like Le Guin, L’Engle, Ende, and Dunsany, whose works certainly benefit from Hogsette’s analysis through a lens of faith. With a wealth of keen insights, Hogsette argues for the serious study of Fantasy Literature based on its longevity, diversity, and power to remind readers of intangible truths. He also explores how these writers ingeniously handle themes of sacrificial love, moral choice, or the role of the supernatural within the natural cosmos. Reading this book has blessed me with startling new spiritual connections not only within fantasy classics like Phantastes, but also between it and much newer works.”
—Jonathan B. Himes, Ph.D., professor of English, John Brown University