Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

July 22, 2009

Mendlesohn & James – A Short History of Fantasy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Sam @ 11:05 pm

This is precisely what it says – a history of the fantastic, beginning with mythology and moving through fairytale and the Gothic novel to the beginnings of Fantasy As We Know It and then forward to the present day.

The first text mentioned (in passing) is the Epic of Gilgamesh; the most recent is Alice in Sunderland (graphic novel, Brian Talbot, 2007). At 280 pages including chronology, glossary, and further reading, there’s little enough space for any particular text, but plenty of them are given a thorough enough discussion that it’s clear where they fit into the braided narrative of fantasy.

An extensive “Chronology of important texts” always invites the reader to tick off what they’ve read, and I’m mildly disappointed by my lack of erudition there; but I’m pleased to find that I’m familiar with most of the texts referenced in the main body, at least until the last chapter (2000-2010).

Clearly, I need to read more heavyweight-recent SF!

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