Magical Tales: Myth, Legend, and Enchantment in Children's Books

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9781851242641: Magical Tales: Myth, Legend, and Enchantment in Children's Books
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A faun carrying an umbrella. A hobbit who makes his home in a hole in the ground. An ill-treated schoolboy with a secret and a scar. Fantasy is among the most beloved genres in children’s literature— and its offerings are often just as eagerly anticipated by adults. But how is it that writers like J. K. Rowling and Philip Pullman are able to create such remarkable images?

Magical Tales
traces the origin of the genre back through Norse mythology, Arthurian legend, and medieval literature. Drawing on manuscripts and rare books in the renowned collection of the Bodleian Library, the essays turn the spotlight on spell books; grimoires, or magical textbooks; and books of legend and myth whose themes writers like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis incorporated into their work, inspiring generations of writers that extend to the present day. In serving as a source of inspiration for later literary works, the contributors show, myths and legends have themselves been altered in interesting ways.

Richly illustrated, Magical Tales offers an enchanting take on the development of this wildly popular genre.

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About the Author:

Carolyne Larrington is a supernumerary fellow in medieval English at St John’s College, University of Oxford, and the author, most recently, of King Arthur’s Enchantresses. Diane Purkiss is a fellow and tutor of English at Keble College, University of Oxford. She is the author of numerous books, including A History of Food in England and Shakespeare and the Supernatural.

Review:

“This magical book is a bibliophile’s delight.” (Choice 2013-10-03)

“A lavishly illustrated book. . . . Larrington and Purkiss make an important claim about the genesis of children’s fantasy literature, which makes their book a useful adjunct to courses in that area.” (Marvels & Tales 2014-09-30)

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