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Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature by Michael Drout

Rings, Swords, and Monsters: Exploring Fantasy Literature

by Michael Drout

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
7 Hrs. 30 Min.
User Rating
  5.0  Stars Based on 1 rating


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.

Lecture 1 What Is Fantasy Literature?: Genre, Canon, History

Lecture 2 Origins of Modern Fantasy

Lecture 3 Tolkien: Life and Languages

Lecture 4 Tolkien: The Hobbit

Lecture 5 Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lecture 6 Tolkien: The Two Towers

Lecture 7 Tolkien: The Return of the King

Lecture 8 Tolkien: The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and Other Posthumously Published Work

Lecture 9 Tolkien: Criticism and Theory

Lecture 10 Imitations and Reactions: Brooks and Donaldson

Lecture 11 Worthy Inheritors: Le Guin and Holdstock

Lecture 12 Children's Fantasy

Lecture 13 Arthurian Fantasy

Lecture 14 Magical Realism and Conclusions

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