1665 MODERN BRITISH FANTASY, 1916–77
Dr Jamie McGregor, lecturer, Rhodes University
The timeline used by the lecturer to illustrate Modern British Fantasy is available here.
These lectures discuss four masterpieces of fantasy literature produced between the build-up to WWll and its aftermath that have proved lastingly popular and influential. JRR Tolkien’s epic romance The Lord of the Rings is still widely regarded as the outstanding work of fantasy fiction of modern times and a notable precursor of works by JK Rowling and George RR Martin. CS Lewis’s science-fiction classic The Cosmic Trilogy, like the celebrated Chronicles of Narnia that followed it, infuses its author’s Christian faith into a narrative and genre seemingly at odds with it. TH White’s five-novel sequence The Once and Future King offers a modern retelling of the Arthurian legend as memorable for its quirky humour as for its mediaeval pageantry; and Mervyn Peake’s three Gormenghast novels present a unique display of Gothic satire and grotesquerie. All four works, despite striking originality, share a haunting responsiveness to the global crisis against which they were written, and continue to resonate deeply with readers to this day.
2. JRR Tolkien
3. CS Lewis
4. TH White
5. Mervyn Peake
Lewis, CS. The Cosmic Trilogy. Any edition.
Peake, M. The Gormenghast Trilogy. Any edition.
Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings. Any edition.
White, TH. The Once and Future King. Any edition.