The overwhelming success of the Lord of the Rings films and the Harry Potter series aptly demonstrates that the fantasy genre is alive and well in the new millennium. The names of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Terry Brooks evoke ripe tales of heroism and the clash of good versus evil in magical, faraway lands. The rich collection of King Arthur tales have also captured the imagination of millions and resonates with audiences to the present day. Should fantasy be considered serious literature, or is it merely escapism? In this course, the roots of fantasy and the works that have defined the genre are examined. Incisive analysis and a deft assessment of what makes these works so very special provides a deeper insight into beloved works and a better understanding of why fantasy is such a pervasive force in modern culture.
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by Professor Michael Drout
by Professor Geoffrey Hosking
by Professor Thomas F. Madden
"These lectures are a rich companion to some of the mainstays of the fantasy genre. A course book included in the set is also available on the Internet. For listeners who do not want to undertake a reading program, the lectures may still offer an introduction to fantasy. However, for those who haven't at least seen the movies based on Tolkein's works, the substantial detail may be overwhelming. Drout is an articulate and engaged speaker who clearly has great passion for the fantasy genre and the books he discusses. The program has the energy of a live lecture and the quality of a studio recording. J.E.M. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine"
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