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A history of the fantasy form, this work traces the genre from the earliest years with The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey through to the origins of modern fantasy in the 20th century with such acclaimed writers as Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. An exploration of the great variety of fiction published under the heading “fantasy,” this engaging study seeks to explain A history of the fantasy form, this work traces the genre from the earliest years with The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey through to the origins of modern fantasy in the 20th century with such acclaimed writers as Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. An exploration of the great variety of fiction published under the heading “fantasy,” this engaging study seeks to explain its continuing and ever growing popularity.


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A history of the fantasy form, this work traces the genre from the earliest years with The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey through to the origins of modern fantasy in the 20th century with such acclaimed writers as Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. An exploration of the great variety of fiction published under the heading “fantasy,” this engaging study seeks to explain A history of the fantasy form, this work traces the genre from the earliest years with The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Odyssey through to the origins of modern fantasy in the 20th century with such acclaimed writers as Terry Pratchett and J. K. Rowling. An exploration of the great variety of fiction published under the heading “fantasy,” this engaging study seeks to explain its continuing and ever growing popularity.

30 review for A Short History of Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason Mills

    At around 200 pages, this history certainly is short. There is a wide-ranging survey up to the 1900s, and separate sections devoted to Tolkein, C S Lewis, J K Rowling, Pullman and Pratchett, because of their prominence and influence. After that the book basically covers one decade per chapter, telling of the influential rising stars, trends and fresh developments in that period (mostly books, but other media too). The observations are interesting and intelligent, but readily accessible, not weig At around 200 pages, this history certainly is short. There is a wide-ranging survey up to the 1900s, and separate sections devoted to Tolkein, C S Lewis, J K Rowling, Pullman and Pratchett, because of their prominence and influence. After that the book basically covers one decade per chapter, telling of the influential rising stars, trends and fresh developments in that period (mostly books, but other media too). The observations are interesting and intelligent, but readily accessible, not weighed down by academia, and the coverage is extensive. (Sometimes funny too: David Lindsay’s A Voyage To Arcturus is memorably and accurately described as “a blinding headache of a book”!) The authors tease out the 'speciation' of fantasy, first in its divergence from horror and SF, and then on into different modes: immersive, intrusive and indigenous fantasy; portal worlds; quest series; pocket universes; liminal fantasy; the New Weird, etc. Much of the material discussed was new to me, particularly from the explosion of the last two decades. Fans of fantasy would be well advised to avoid reading this whilst sitting at a computer with access to amazon… Indeed, so much has been published in recent years that the last couple of chapters are in danger of descending into frantic lists. Trilogies whoosh by in a sentence and entire ‘movements’ come and go in a page or two. I was left mildly distressed that I could never possibly catch up with all the good stuff. I would like to have seen more discussion of individual style: I would not learn from this book, for instance, that Donaldson’s novels are laden with character psychology, or that Eddison’s are written in a prose of high splendour. And of course there were a few works not covered that I felt were important (Ricardo Pinto springs to mind, and James Hilton's neglected Lost Horizon). Nevertheless, this is a lively history full of infectious enthusiasm and sensible appreciation, with an extensive appendix of major works and two indexes. A great read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Harun Musho'd

    By the editors of 'The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature.' Having read Adam Roberts's Palgrave History of Science Fiction as part of a degree module on science fiction, and which I found very useful, I wanted to do the same for fantasy to help get a better context for reading my favourite genre. Like Roberts's book this was broadly structured chronologically, with two extra chapters to discuss major authors of the 50s (Tolkien and Lewis) and 90s (Rowling, Pullman and Pratchett). The seco By the editors of 'The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature.' Having read Adam Roberts's Palgrave History of Science Fiction as part of a degree module on science fiction, and which I found very useful, I wanted to do the same for fantasy to help get a better context for reading my favourite genre. Like Roberts's book this was broadly structured chronologically, with two extra chapters to discuss major authors of the 50s (Tolkien and Lewis) and 90s (Rowling, Pullman and Pratchett). The second chapter (pre-1900) is laid out chronologically, but the other chronological chapters are atrucrued by sub-genre. There are a number of flaws. First, the authors are generally a little sloppy about sticking to their structure. For example: in chapter 3 (covering 1900-50)there are two separate sections on adult book length fantasies for no particularl reason, and it talks about there being two major British author, apart from Tolkien and Lewis in this period (David Lindsay and Hope Mirless) but then spends more time talking about a third author (T H White); Sean Stewart's 'Galveston' (2000) is reviewed differently in two different chapters in seeming ignorance of the other review (it is, or is not, a magic realist novel) while Stephanie's Meyer's original 'Twilight' novel is reviewed twice in the same chapter. Secondly, the criticism can also be inconsistent - we are told that Robert E Howard's reputation was damaged by Arnold Schwarzenegger's 80s films but later Arnie's two Conan films are praised. Thirdly, the authors sometimes stray beyond fantasy. That can be hard to avoid at the margins of any genre, of course, but why, in a section on silent fantasy films, mention Fritz Lang's Metropolis and M, the first is clearly SF and the second is a non-fantasy thriller and also a sound film, but not his two silent fantasy films - Destiny and Die Nibelungen? Finally,the last chapter (2000-2010s) appears to have been hastily revised for the second edition. A lot of works are thrown in, no doubt in part because the genre has boomed fuing this time. but this chapter either needs to be more selective or expanded. However, for all the numerous quibbles I have (and there are far more than I have set out here), it has compensating strengths. The chronological structure generally helps to identify trends, so the reader gets to understand why fat quest fantasy books so dominated the fantasy book market; how the internet helped create the Harry Potter phenomenon; the slow death and rebirth of the sword-and-sorcery sub-genre; how the adult fantasy genre rode in on the back of the success of children's fantasy; and the rise of the New Weird sub-genre. A Short History of Fantasy was a useful and enyoyable read, and enabled me to update my genre reading list as a result.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    This book reaches back into the history of English literature for the threads of fantasy. The authors do not make judgments of the material--that is not their purpose. What they have set out to do is give as complete an overview as possible of the development of fantasy in English. It's quite fascinating to dip into. This book reaches back into the history of English literature for the threads of fantasy. The authors do not make judgments of the material--that is not their purpose. What they have set out to do is give as complete an overview as possible of the development of fantasy in English. It's quite fascinating to dip into.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jersy

    I love learning about the history of genres and tropes, so this book was a must-read for me. The authors mix their passion for everything speculative with a more scientific structure, including recommendations for further reading and sources, as well as an extensive list of influential fantasy books in the appendix. I liked how this book is structures by decades and talks about the trends of each one, even though that proved to be not the best way to go, but I´ll talk about that later. Also, the I love learning about the history of genres and tropes, so this book was a must-read for me. The authors mix their passion for everything speculative with a more scientific structure, including recommendations for further reading and sources, as well as an extensive list of influential fantasy books in the appendix. I liked how this book is structures by decades and talks about the trends of each one, even though that proved to be not the best way to go, but I´ll talk about that later. Also, the German edition I read just looks gorgeous. While all of that sounds good, I had some issues with this book. First of all, a lot of the early chapters are more about Science Fiction than about Fantasy. Sure, it was the more successful genre at that time and a lot of authors also fall within both categories, but it still felt out of place. I love SF as much as Fantasy, but if you cant fill the chapters with your actual topics, you shouldn't dedicate a whole chapter to it. Also, sometimes books are discussed in detail that the authors admit that they "aren't really fantasy". In general, I didn't really get why some works were focused on more than others. There are some novels I never heard of that are praised as classics (which is cool, I want to learn about new things), but then actual classics, books that have stood the test of time and are still discussed and read today, are name dropped only, never to be really spoken of. Some of them have one comment about them, sometimes only a negative one, but it never felt clear why this isn't important to talk of but another book gets an entire page dedicated to it. It felt the authors were just picking what they personally liked best. Also, a lot of books are not discussed as much as listed or recapped. I would have loved to know what makes the books so great or influential, which was described sometimes, but more often than not everything I learned about a books was that the author wrote a lot and a very vague or very extensive plot description. Like, one sentence or one page, there was little in-between. Also, no holding back on spoilers, even a one sentence recap could spoil the last book in a series. It was entertaining, easy to read and interesting as a whole, but it could have explored the subgenres and trends more, made it more clear why these old books are still worth reading and present a better sense on what to focus on. I enjoyed it more than the review makes it seem, but it doesn't entirely satisfy my need to learn about the fantasy genre.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    Probably the best book I've read on Fantasy fiction. Though, the author(s) seem to gush on a bit much over female authors and cut short male authors towards the middle and end of the book. Misses the mark on the most recent era covered which spotlights wrongly The New Weird as the wave of the future. Completely ignores the Grimdark movement and GRR Martin's huge influence on the genre as a whole. Probably the best book I've read on Fantasy fiction. Though, the author(s) seem to gush on a bit much over female authors and cut short male authors towards the middle and end of the book. Misses the mark on the most recent era covered which spotlights wrongly The New Weird as the wave of the future. Completely ignores the Grimdark movement and GRR Martin's huge influence on the genre as a whole.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nafiza

    Drier than I expected it to be though it does go through a large number of fantasy titles (all of it in English-language so with limited diversity) that figure in the history of fantasy. I wonder at the absence of any mention of Alison Croggon whose Pellinor books have a worldwide following and whose contribution to the genre is considerable. Maybe I just missed it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1398365.html This book is precisely what it says on the tin, with a first chapter taking the genre to 1900, a second taking it to 1950, and then individual chapters for each subsequent decade, with two extra chapters for a) J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and b) Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett, the whole text weighing in at less than 220 pages (plus index and lists). It doesn't interrogate the nature of fantasy literature in depth (one of the authors h http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1398365.html This book is precisely what it says on the tin, with a first chapter taking the genre to 1900, a second taking it to 1950, and then individual chapters for each subsequent decade, with two extra chapters for a) J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and b) Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett, the whole text weighing in at less than 220 pages (plus index and lists). It doesn't interrogate the nature of fantasy literature in depth (one of the authors has done that elsewhere) but does define the genre clearly and convincingly, and also looks at when and why particular sub-genres (cute animal fantasies, paranormal romance, Big Commercial Fantasy) have become popular at different times. The authors integrate children's literature and also genre films and television into the narrative; this is not just about fantasy for grownups. It would be rather a good (and inexpensive) gateway text for the reader of fantasy (and/or sf) who wanted to dip their toe into criticism. I know I always say this, but when I read books like this I want i) a better understanding of books I have already read and ii) suggestions of books I might read in the future which may appeal to me, and I got plenty of both here; I also was provoked to start thinking (though not sufficiently to complete the thought) about the books which received popular and/or literary acclaim which I just didn't like (including Little, Big, Light, and The Sword of Shannara). Mostly I found myself nodding in agreement or realisation with just the occasional raised eyebrow - Diana Wynne Jones surely wrote more than four books in the 1970s (p.139)?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    Decent little history that does a great job of detailing all the major works of fantasy over the past two hundred years. Their analysis on the development of fantasy, whether it be how modern fantasy inherently stems from Romanticism, how Tolkien and Lewis changed the course of fantasy, or how different sub-movements in fantasy impacted the course of a genre as a whole, was fantastic. These were my favorite parts of the book. That being said, this book becomes less analytical and more "here is ev Decent little history that does a great job of detailing all the major works of fantasy over the past two hundred years. Their analysis on the development of fantasy, whether it be how modern fantasy inherently stems from Romanticism, how Tolkien and Lewis changed the course of fantasy, or how different sub-movements in fantasy impacted the course of a genre as a whole, was fantastic. These were my favorite parts of the book. That being said, this book becomes less analytical and more "here is every fantasy book written in this era" as the book goes on. Some of this is understandable as more and more books are written each year. However, at a certain point, all the books ran together and in their quest to be comprehensive, the authors forgot to be meaningful in their selections. Overall, I appreciated this book for what it was: a short but comprehensive history of fantasy. I would have preferred a work that was slightly less comprehensive but more analytical and broad in scope. But for what it was, it was a helpful book. Rating: 3.5-4 Stars (Good).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Pedigo

    This book is an interesting overview of the history of fantasy literature. There is a huge listing of influential fantasy books as an appendix. The text itself starts off well, but eventually reads like a slightly fleshed-out version of that list. Whole series are commented on in only a sentence or two, and the explanation of books and authors runs together pretty quickly. Maybe it's better used as a reference book/reading guide than a literary history. To be fair, though, there's been an enormo This book is an interesting overview of the history of fantasy literature. There is a huge listing of influential fantasy books as an appendix. The text itself starts off well, but eventually reads like a slightly fleshed-out version of that list. Whole series are commented on in only a sentence or two, and the explanation of books and authors runs together pretty quickly. Maybe it's better used as a reference book/reading guide than a literary history. To be fair, though, there's been an enormous amount of fantasy books hitting the market, especially after Harry Potter, so a more thorough book would take up volumes, and this is perhaps the best one can expect of a one volume work.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This does an okay job of giving a very general overview of the publication history of the genre. However, it reads a bit like a list of published works with attached summaries. There isn't as much analysis of why certain trends and changes emerged. As such, it was a very dry read that ended up feeling overlong. 2.5 stars. This does an okay job of giving a very general overview of the publication history of the genre. However, it reads a bit like a list of published works with attached summaries. There isn't as much analysis of why certain trends and changes emerged. As such, it was a very dry read that ended up feeling overlong. 2.5 stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jax

    I liked the layout of the book, chapters by decades and then highly specific chapters by authors. Offered an amazing reading list and detailed index of fantasy books/authors, which i'm basically going to print out and carry around with me errywhere. I liked the layout of the book, chapters by decades and then highly specific chapters by authors. Offered an amazing reading list and detailed index of fantasy books/authors, which i'm basically going to print out and carry around with me errywhere.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wander

    Was interesting to see how fantasy developed as a genre, but read a bit too much like a list.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Johan Agstam

    Absolutely brilliant.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A good and comprehensive survey of fantasy literature, well structured (chronologically) and with a very good index. Two chapters are given to particularly prominent writers: Tolkien/Lewis, and Pullman/Rowling/Pratchett. It's very helpful in explaining the various subgenres (eg, dark fantasy, paranormal romance). It does develop a rather breathless tone as the writers try to pack in all they can, particularly in the last chapter where one can occasionally find three writers referenced in one sent A good and comprehensive survey of fantasy literature, well structured (chronologically) and with a very good index. Two chapters are given to particularly prominent writers: Tolkien/Lewis, and Pullman/Rowling/Pratchett. It's very helpful in explaining the various subgenres (eg, dark fantasy, paranormal romance). It does develop a rather breathless tone as the writers try to pack in all they can, particularly in the last chapter where one can occasionally find three writers referenced in one sentence. Even with semicolons, it's quite a pace! Updated in 2012 so doesn't cover more recent writing; I do hope it gets updated again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    James

    A great companion, an almost thorough breakdown of the fantasy genre from the ancient times through 90s. Each chapter is dedicated to a decade, giving a detailed account of the books and the trends that have shaped those decades. Writers also track those trends down through the other decades, which provides a great understanding of the development and historical background. There are two chapters solely dedicated to Tolkien & C.S. Lewis and Pullman, Rowling, Pratchett, all of which have left inde A great companion, an almost thorough breakdown of the fantasy genre from the ancient times through 90s. Each chapter is dedicated to a decade, giving a detailed account of the books and the trends that have shaped those decades. Writers also track those trends down through the other decades, which provides a great understanding of the development and historical background. There are two chapters solely dedicated to Tolkien & C.S. Lewis and Pullman, Rowling, Pratchett, all of which have left indelible impacts on the genre. A must-read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    3.5 stars I really liked the concept of this book and I realize that they were taking on a pretty huge task but the book read mostly like a laundry list of fantasy books. Which isn't necessarily bad, I added a lot to my tbr, but I was hoping for a lot more conversation about development and context. Towards the end, especially in the chapter about the 2000s, personal bias certainly played into what was discussed, which would have been fine if a note about that had been made clear. That all said i 3.5 stars I really liked the concept of this book and I realize that they were taking on a pretty huge task but the book read mostly like a laundry list of fantasy books. Which isn't necessarily bad, I added a lot to my tbr, but I was hoping for a lot more conversation about development and context. Towards the end, especially in the chapter about the 2000s, personal bias certainly played into what was discussed, which would have been fine if a note about that had been made clear. That all said it was a thoroughly interesting book for fantasy fans.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    A brilliant, thorough excavation of how fantasy came to establish itself as a literary genre. Moreover, it examines the manifold traditions of the fantastic, showcasing the many authors, characters, worlds, and titles which have, down the decades, shaped and reshaped fantasy into the most flexible genre available to its authors and, as important, its readers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Richard Gaunt

    A "very" short history of Fantasy. However, in this limited space lies a deep knowledge and understanding of the genre, with a huge scope of the most important influences of the rise of fantasy. A "very" short history of Fantasy. However, in this limited space lies a deep knowledge and understanding of the genre, with a huge scope of the most important influences of the rise of fantasy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    Very text book like but very informative! It’s nice to see the history and the value in a genre I love so much!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    It is EXACTLY what it says on the tin.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Alfaro Labbé

    Probably, the best thing about this book it's the quantity of writers and titles its authors speak about. Although some reflections about the fantasy genre are a little bit bend to fit the author's vision, the book fulfill its objective which is talk about a short history of fantasy. It is very rich in recommendations and it's very updated, and it doesn't get all snob when it's time to analyze some massive phenomenom of recently young adult titles which are clearly low quality writing but an imp Probably, the best thing about this book it's the quantity of writers and titles its authors speak about. Although some reflections about the fantasy genre are a little bit bend to fit the author's vision, the book fulfill its objective which is talk about a short history of fantasy. It is very rich in recommendations and it's very updated, and it doesn't get all snob when it's time to analyze some massive phenomenom of recently young adult titles which are clearly low quality writing but an important cultural momentum all the same for the enormous quantity of volumes sell. Very nice panorama.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Wiswell

    A superb survey of 20th century English-language Fantasy fiction. Segregated mostly into chapters based on decades and who emerged or dominated them, it lets you appreciate how fads rose and fell, and the patterns of things like Portal Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery worked. We see how magazines and novels co-existed and competed for attention, as well as radical changes, like the depth of Tolkien and Peake’s worlds, which stand out much more clearly when you’re also reading what Howard, Lovecraft, A superb survey of 20th century English-language Fantasy fiction. Segregated mostly into chapters based on decades and who emerged or dominated them, it lets you appreciate how fads rose and fell, and the patterns of things like Portal Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery worked. We see how magazines and novels co-existed and competed for attention, as well as radical changes, like the depth of Tolkien and Peake’s worlds, which stand out much more clearly when you’re also reading what Howard, Lovecraft, Lewis and Jackson were doing at similar times. It’s really a 200-page crash course in a century of fiction, with another hundred pages of bibliography to help you brush up on all the things you barely knew were there. My favorite part of the book was the reading list I built on my bookmark. Mendlesohn and James have superb scholarship and are happy to reference where major critical thoughts come from, such as from Diana Wynne Jones and John Clute. It can be superficial as they’re trying to cover an enormous amount of territory, and do an admirable job of expressing what was distinctive about a new novel or trend in short stories at a given time. The survey’s big struggle is in its Lewis & Tolkien chapter, which devotes ten pages just to those two authors and applies more critical inferences. Here the insight is deep enough to need more support and defense, such as their assertion that Eowyn in Lord of the Rings is a representation of the bitter war widows of England. They don’t even explain why she’d be this thing, rather than any other possible interpretation, including empowerment fantasy or liberal criticism. It often seems the authors assert that something in Tolkien’s novels is about WWI or WWII simply because he lived through those times, which is frustratingly shallow criticism. So it’s obviously a survey course, and that’s why there is so much bibliographical material. I relished in this book as a way to fill in the many gaps in my knowledge of how our modern notion of Fantasy developed, and how its many courses diverged with the emergence of figures like Moorcock and Wolfe. You certainly won’t get this out of a Wiki.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Schwartzberg

    It's always difficult to survey an entire genre and not omit some books and writers but Mendlesohn and James have done a great job of conveying the sweep and evolution of the fantasy genre over the centuries. They give the historical background and then carefully examine the changes over the twentieth century, stopping in 2008. There is a timeline of publications in the back of the book from Gilgamesh, up to 2010, which is very good. Of course, as a dedicated fantasy reader I went over the list. It's always difficult to survey an entire genre and not omit some books and writers but Mendlesohn and James have done a great job of conveying the sweep and evolution of the fantasy genre over the centuries. They give the historical background and then carefully examine the changes over the twentieth century, stopping in 2008. There is a timeline of publications in the back of the book from Gilgamesh, up to 2010, which is very good. Of course, as a dedicated fantasy reader I went over the list. I was surprised to see how many of the earlier works I had read and noticed a couple of lacunae, like Manly Wade Wellman, but in general I think it's a very good list. I'm making notes of books to read at some point to catch up on the field! This is a rich but short read for fantasy lovers and could be very useful as a textbook in a high school or college class on fantastic literature.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    Farah Mendlesohn continues to be one of the most cogent and efficient popularizers of fantastic literary criticism ––– I may not agree with her evaluations of various texts, but I admire her range of knowledge and her consistent culturalist stance regarding fantasy literature, a subject many often take as one near-totally removed from culture. Here her collaborator Edward James lends Mendlesohn capacity and breadth. All told, a useful introduction to a brief historical narrative, if one brief on Farah Mendlesohn continues to be one of the most cogent and efficient popularizers of fantastic literary criticism ––– I may not agree with her evaluations of various texts, but I admire her range of knowledge and her consistent culturalist stance regarding fantasy literature, a subject many often take as one near-totally removed from culture. Here her collaborator Edward James lends Mendlesohn capacity and breadth. All told, a useful introduction to a brief historical narrative, if one brief on details.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex Black

    This book is a great resource for fantasy fans. It has provided me with an extensive list of resources to read in the future as well as a background on some of the most influential authors. I would be interested to reread this book in a few years after I've read some more of the writers they suggested because at times I felt a little lost in my ignorance. This book is very short, but in just over 200 pages I gained more insight into the genre than I expected. I highly recommend this to anyone int This book is a great resource for fantasy fans. It has provided me with an extensive list of resources to read in the future as well as a background on some of the most influential authors. I would be interested to reread this book in a few years after I've read some more of the writers they suggested because at times I felt a little lost in my ignorance. This book is very short, but in just over 200 pages I gained more insight into the genre than I expected. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about fantasy. If it sounds like it'll be of interest to you, you will most likely enjoy it as much as I did.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    A delightfully engaging summary of some of the most important works of fantasy (and some sci-fi as well) throughout the ages. Anyone who grew up on fantasy will find this a joy; learning the culture context beyond the countless fantasy books I read growing up was fascinating. I feel like I learned quite a lot, but most importantly, my reading list has now expanded exponentially. I also appreciate the attention to cultural contexts such as queer visibility and feminism, and the attempt to expand A delightfully engaging summary of some of the most important works of fantasy (and some sci-fi as well) throughout the ages. Anyone who grew up on fantasy will find this a joy; learning the culture context beyond the countless fantasy books I read growing up was fascinating. I feel like I learned quite a lot, but most importantly, my reading list has now expanded exponentially. I also appreciate the attention to cultural contexts such as queer visibility and feminism, and the attempt to expand beyond Western fantasy. It is far from comprehensive, but that is of course, not the point. Definitely check this out if you're interested in fantasy and how it's grown over the years.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James

    More of an academic history than a fan's approach. Very informative and includes emphases upon things like children's literature, movies, and video games--not just literature. The earlier chapters are better than the latter. As the book proceeds it turns less and less from being a history to more and more being a piece of literary criticism. Not exactly my cup of tea. Yet, still readable and enjoyable. Highly informative for those interested in the history of fantasy literature, and the genre as More of an academic history than a fan's approach. Very informative and includes emphases upon things like children's literature, movies, and video games--not just literature. The earlier chapters are better than the latter. As the book proceeds it turns less and less from being a history to more and more being a piece of literary criticism. Not exactly my cup of tea. Yet, still readable and enjoyable. Highly informative for those interested in the history of fantasy literature, and the genre as a whole.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    A little heavy on the British side of fantasy, but the authors are British, so you can't really fault them for that. It's a survey work, so lots of summary and exposition. A huge reading list at the end, enough to keep a body busy for a while. A little heavy on the British side of fantasy, but the authors are British, so you can't really fault them for that. It's a survey work, so lots of summary and exposition. A huge reading list at the end, enough to keep a body busy for a while.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason Lundberg

    My review of this book can be found at SF Site: http://sfsite.com/09a/hf327.htm My review of this book can be found at SF Site: http://sfsite.com/09a/hf327.htm

  30. 5 out of 5

    Na'amen

    A great short history, very comprehensive. There were moments where I wanted more but I guess that's why it's a short history. A great short history, very comprehensive. There were moments where I wanted more but I guess that's why it's a short history.

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