16 episodes

Fantasy Literature has emerged as one of the most important genres over the past few decades and now enjoys extraordinary levels of popularity. The impact of Tolkien’s Middle-earth works and the serialisation of George Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ books has moved these and their contemporaries into mainstream culture. As the popularity grows so does interest in the roots of fantasy, the main writers and themes, and how to approach these texts.
Oxford is a natural home to fantasy literature with those who worked or studied here having written so many famous and influential texts (e.g. Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson), C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Alan Garner, and Philip Pullman to name but a few) – leading to the notion of an ‘Oxford School of Fantasy’. These lectures, short talks, and interviews seek to take listeners into these works and these writers and beyond.
All material released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ .
[Artwork by Minjie Su.]

Fantasy Literature Oxford University

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Fantasy Literature has emerged as one of the most important genres over the past few decades and now enjoys extraordinary levels of popularity. The impact of Tolkien’s Middle-earth works and the serialisation of George Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ books has moved these and their contemporaries into mainstream culture. As the popularity grows so does interest in the roots of fantasy, the main writers and themes, and how to approach these texts.
Oxford is a natural home to fantasy literature with those who worked or studied here having written so many famous and influential texts (e.g. Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson), C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Alan Garner, and Philip Pullman to name but a few) – leading to the notion of an ‘Oxford School of Fantasy’. These lectures, short talks, and interviews seek to take listeners into these works and these writers and beyond.
All material released under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ .
[Artwork by Minjie Su.]

    • video
    The Saga of Eric the Unlucky

    The Saga of Eric the Unlucky

    The Saga of Eric the Unlucky examines Rider Haggard's use of medieval narrative techniques in his novel Eric Brighteyes. In The Saga of Eric the Unlucky, Jane Bliss examines Rider Haggard's use of medieval narrative techniques in his nineteenth-century novel The Saga of Eric Brighteyes. He exploits the paratactic narrative style familiar from chronicle history; he also uses a typical and often very effective tense-switching from past to present and back, to bring scenes to life. The story is enlivened with his own verses, composed with a traditional alliterative style in mind. Jane Bliss is an independent scholar; she has written on several aspects of medieval literature, and runs an Anglo-Norman Reading Group in Oxford.

    • 14 min
    • video
    Edward Lear and Fantasy

    Edward Lear and Fantasy

    Jasmine Jagger provides a short introduction to Edward Lear. Jasmine Jagger provides a short introduction to Edward Lear, a literary nonsense author whose fanciful limericks and invented words inspired numerous fantasy authors. Dr Jagger lectured at Oxford (Jesus and Lady Margaret Hall), and is now a member of the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton.

    • 10 min
    • video
    Werewolves in Medieval Literature vs Modern TV

    Werewolves in Medieval Literature vs Modern TV

    A discussion of werewolves in medieval and modern representations. A discussion of werewolves in medieval and modern representations by Dr Minjie Su.

    • 23 min
    • video
    Morte D'Arthur Murals in the Oxford Union

    Morte D'Arthur Murals in the Oxford Union

    A visual discussion of the Morte D'Arthur murals in the library of the Oxford Union. A visual discussion of the Morte D'Arthur murals in the library of the Oxford Union by Tom Corrick (Librarian) and Caroline Batten. the murals were painted by members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and influence many writers.

    • 39 min
    • video
    Violet Needham

    Violet Needham

    Jane Bliss introduces listeners to the work of Violet Needham, a prolific but little-remembered children’s fantasy author, whose book 'The Woods of Windri' draws on the tropes of medieval romances in fascinating ways.ays. Jane Bliss introduces listeners to the work of Violet Needham, a prolific but little-remembered children’s fantasy author, whose book 'The Woods of Windri' draws on the tropes of medieval romances in fascinating ways. The talk ends with questioning the definition of 'fantasy' and how it relates to Needham.

    • 16 min
    • video
    What is the 'Silmarillion'?

    What is the 'Silmarillion'?

    This lecture is an introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's third major work, 'The Silmarillion' (1977), and considers its lengthy development in numerous prose and verse texts over fifty years. This lecture offers a guided tour through the development of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Silmarillion' corpus, inclusive of The Silmarillion (1977) and the earlier versions of the same work published in the History of Middle Earth series (1983-1996). The most mythological and magisterial of Tolkien's major works, the 1977 Silmarillion (and its antecedents) gives the reader a very different experience and perspective than his more famous and widely read works, The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955). A mythology in the true sense, the 'Silmarillion' corpus is peopled with gods and other preternatural beings and represents the earliest comprehensive work of Tolkien's imagination. Since it was begun in earnest in the middle of the First World War, one of the most turbulent periods in modern history, its tone is more sober and its events more tragic than those of his other classics, but its powerful messages of nobility in the face of defeat and courage in darkness resonate with the world events of the time in which it was produced.

    • 43 min

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