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Fantasy Literature

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.]

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Tolkien Archive and Exhibition at Bodleian (Part 1) An interview with Catherine McIlwaine on the Tolkien archive at Bodley and the exhibition of 2018 - Part 1. Catherine McIlwaine, Stuart Lee 17 Jun 2021
2 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. Grace Khuri 19 Apr 2021
3 Verse and Prose in Fantasy Literature An analysis of two forms that dominate fantasy literature. Katherine Olley 24 Nov 2020
4 Guy Gavriel Kay A short introduction to the writer Guy Gavriel Kay. Katherine Olley 24 Nov 2020
5 What Tolkien learnt from 'Beowulf': Representations of Evil Monsters and evil in Tolkien Rafael J. Pascual 16 Jul 2020
6 Sylvia Townsend Warner Carolyne Larrington introduces the writing of Sylvia Townsend Warner. Carolyne Larrington 26 May 2020
7 Ursula K. Le Guin A brief introduction to the writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Caroline Batten 13 May 2020
8 T. H. White A brief introduction to the writer T. H. White. Gabriel Schenk 12 May 2020
9 Diana Wynne Jones A brief introduction to the writer Diana Wynne Jones. Gabriel Schenk 12 May 2020
10 Why 'Game of Thrones' Matters 'Game of Thrones' and storytelling. Carolyne Larrington 12 May 2020
11 Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century A guest lecture by Dr Maria Cecire (Bard College) discussing children's fantasy literature. Maria Cecire 12 May 2020
12 Interview: Catherine Butler An Interview with Dr Catherine Butler, author of the book 'Four British Fantasists'. Catherine Butler, Will Brockbank 12 May 2020
13 Alan Garner A brief introduction to the British fantasy writer, Alan Garner. Felix Taylor 12 May 2020
14 H. P. Lovecraft A brief introduction to the writer, H. P. Lovecraft. Stuart Lee 12 May 2020
15 Approaching Fantasy Literature A short introduction to reading and studying fantasy literature. Stuart Lee 12 May 2020