Fantasy in Contemporary Literature Criticism: Major Writers - Essay

Virginia Harger-Grinling and Tony Chadwick (essay date 1986)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Harger-Grinling, Virginia, and Tony Chadwick. “Djinn by Alain Robbe-Grillet: Or the Architecture of the Fantastic.” In Reflections on the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fourth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, edited by Michael R. Collings, pp. 25-31. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986.

[In the following essay, Harger-Grinling and Chadwick address the ways in which Robbe-Grillet uses the image of the traditional Arabian genie to guide readers through fantastical elements in Djinn while setting large parts of the book in a realistic world.]

For the first decade or so of the nouveau roman in France, critics...

(The entire section is 3532 words.)

Lance Olsen (essay date 1987)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Olsen, Lance. “Misfires in Eden: García Márquez and Narrative Frustration.” In Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy, pp. 85-100. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987.

[In the following essay, Olsen focuses on the narrative frustration commented upon by many critics of García Márquez's work, noting that the uncertainty and nebulous nature of the writer's work is intentional, and very much in line with many other works of postmodern fantasy which resist the idea of closure or completeness.]

These are not the times to go around thinking about weddings.

García Márquez...

(The entire section is 5484 words.)

Lance Olsen (essay date 1987)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Olsen, Lance. “The Presence of Absence: Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians.” In Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy, pp. 101-13. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987.

[In the following essay, Olsen analyzes Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians as a groundbreaking work of postmodern fantasy, one that “recharts, interrogates, challenges, and dismantles dominant cultural myths.”]

There is only a blankness, and desolation that there has to be such blankness.

Coetzee (Waiting for the Barbarians, 73)

John M. Coetzee was born in Cape...

(The entire section is 4351 words.)

Elizabeth Cummins (essay date 1990)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Cummins, Elizabeth. “Earthsea.” In Understanding Ursula K. Le Guin, pp. 22-64. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1990.

[In the following essay, Cummins provides a detailed analysis of Le Guin's “Earthsea” trilogy as a coming-of-age journey set in the realm of the fantastic, where fantastical elements resonate with “ethical, emotional, and aesthetic meaning.”]

The impetus for the Earthsea series was Le Guin's invitation in 1967 from Herbert Schein, publisher of Parnassus Press, to write a book for an adolescent audience. That audience, Le Guin explains in her essay “Dreams Must Explain Themselves” (1973), led to her choosing the...

(The entire section is 10492 words.)

Jennifer Smith (essay date 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Smith, Jennifer. “Supernatural Genres: Horror, Gothic, and Fantasy.” In Anne Rice: A Critical Companion, pp. 9-18. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

[In the following essay, Smith traces various literary influences on the writing of Anne Rice, including the Romantics, the Victorians, and writers of Gothic fiction.]

To analyze Anne Rice's work by genre or kind of fiction, it's necessary to go all the way back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was then that writers developed a fascination with the modern ideas of the supernatural. These writers, the Romantics, rejected the idea that everything could be explained by science and instead...

(The entire section is 4156 words.)

David Gooderham (essay date 2003)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gooderham, David. “Fantasizing It As It Is: Religious Language in Philip Pullman's Trilogy, His Dark Materials.Children's Literature 31 (2003): 155-75.

[In the following essay, Gooderham places the trilogy His Dark Materials in the context of modern works of fantasy literature, noting that although the work has been enthusiastically received by critics and readers, the resistance it has inspired in religious groups can be largely attributed to Pullman's language usage.]

Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials,1 has received enthusiastic reviews during the years of its publication; there have, however, been quite other...

(The entire section is 8611 words.)