Saturday, September 17, 2011

Portals of Power: Magical Agency and Transformation in Literary Fantasy

Portals of Power: Magical Agency and Transformation in Literary Fantasy (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Portals of Power: Magical Agency and Transformation in Literary Fantasy (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy)  by Lori M. Campbell, Donald E. Palumbo, and C. W. Sullivan III is the last of the books sent to me for review by McFarland. This one is obvious more about fantasy literature than fairy tales, so I'm posting it on a Saturday where I tend to be the more relaxed for the blog. The theme of portals is an interesting one and well handled but overall the book will appeal most to those looking for critical analysis of the books discussed within which are thankfully included in the table of contents provided below.

Book description from the publisher:

Fantasy writing, like literature in general, provides a powerful vehicle for challenging the status quo. Via symbolism, imagery and supernaturalism, fantasy constructs secondary-world narratives that both mirror and critique the political paradigms of our own world. This critical work explores the role of the portal in fantasy, investigating the ways in which magical nexus points and movement between worlds are used to illustrate real-world power dynamics, especially those impacting women and children. Through an examination of high and low fantasy, fairy tales, children's literature, the Gothic, and science fiction, the portal is identified as a living being, place or magical object of profound metaphorical and cultural significance.

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 5

Women and Other Magical Creatures: Portals in Romance and Fairy Tale
1. Who “Wears the Pants” in Faërie? The Woman Question in William Morris’s The Wood Beyond the World 23
2. “For I am but a girl”: The Problem of Female Power in Ford Madox Ford’s The Brown Owl 44

Charms, Places, and Little Girls: Portals in Children’s Literature
3. E. Nesbit and the Magic Word: Empowering Child and Woman in Real-World Fantasy 63
4. Lost Boys to Men: Romanticism and the Magic of the Female Imagination in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden 82

Haunted Houses and the Hidden Self: Portals in the Gothic, Low Fantasy, and Science Fiction
5. Confronting Chaos at the In-Between: William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland 103
6. The Society Insider/Outsider and the Sympathetic Supernatural in Fantastic Tales by Edith Wharton and Oscar Wilde 120

Haunting History: The Portal in Modern/Postmodern Fantasy
7. One World to Rule Them All: The Un-Making and Re-Making of the Symbolic Portal in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings 143
8. Harry Potter and the Ultimate In-Between: J.K. Rowling’s Portals of Power 163
9. Portals Between Then and Now: Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, and Jonathan Stroud 183

Chaper Notes 203
Bibliography 205
Index 213

1 comment: