Literary Criticism

A Short History of Fantasy by Edward James, Farah Mendlesohn

By Edward James, Farah Mendlesohn

The various earliest books ever written, together with The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, care for monsters, marvels, notable voyages, and magic, and this style, referred to as myth, remained an important a part of ecu literature during the upward push of the fashionable realist novel. Tracing the background of delusion from the earliest years via to the origins of recent myth within the twentieth century, this account discusses contributions decade by way of decade—from Tolkien’s Lord of the earrings trilogy and Lewis’s Narnia books within the Fifties to J. okay. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It also discusses and explains fantasy’s carrying on with and becoming reputation.

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But to us who are not seers, visions cannot be authoritative. Blake realized that ; and he expended his energy, not in apologizing for his visions, but in teaching the truths they revealed. These truths he in tended to be self -justified ; they are propped by no appeals to supernaturalism. The central task he set himself was : To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the Immortal Eyes Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought : into Eternity ; Ever expanding in the Bosom of God, the Human Imagination ; 1 or, in other words, to teach all mankind how to reach the Paradise of Mysticism, the Garden planted in the brain.

1 The three designs ending the three epics symbolize the moment of death as the I11 each the soul is represented as a woman, since it is in the presence mystical ecstasy. of God The last sketch for The Four Zoas represents this soul leaping enraptured from The last plate of Milton repre the earth which has become a tiny globe beneath its feet. But the last plate of Jerusalem is sents the' soul in adoration between two seraphim. God holds the soul tightly clasped ; and Blake's finest depiction of the ultimate union.

Among the masses, the belief was all the stronger, since it was unformulated and subconscious. The two great names which furthered it were Voltaire and Rousseau. Voltaire's virulent attacks on the abuses of the Church also demolished much of its supernaturalism, thus clearing the way for a time when men He could believe in decency apart from the Church's arbitrary ethics. 1 Modernists denounce gin-drinking. 16 WILLIAM BLAKE : HIS PHILOSOPHY AND SYMBOLS ; ; ' ' it a '), Rousseau was strongly reinforced by the Deists and the Encyclopedists.

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