Lit History: Fantasy Literature

Cynthia Tsai

ENG _270 Introduction to Literature: Literary History


Fantasy Literature


Course Description

Some of you perhaps see fantasy only as a form of entertainment and escapism, yet through this course we will examine some of the most popular fantasy works starting from the beginning of nineteenth century to present day.    

We will explore this magical and wondrous world through discussions/lectures on how fantasy literature is represented as time progresses and how culture, politics, identity and other issues are portrayed in our primary texts. We will also familiarize ourselves with fundamental terminology and methods of contextual and textual analysis. We aim to develop the ability to form a thesis/an argument in critical writing.


Key Texts 


Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

(other supporting material will be on the Laulima site)


Class Requirements and Expectations (assignments & attendance/participation)


Two short papers: 2-3 pages

Final paper: 5-7 pages

(all papers with drafts and peer evaluations)

Midterm exam

Final exam


Attendance/participation are mandatory