Four British Fantasists: Place and Culture in the Children's Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper
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Four British Fantasists: Place and Culture in the Children's Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper

4.48 of 5 stars 4.48  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Four British Fantasists explores the work of four of the most successful and influential fantasy writers of the generation who rose to prominence in the "second Golden Age" of children's literature in Britain: Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Penelope Lively. Drawing on history, archeology, social geography, anthropology, and postcolonial theory, as well a...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published April 28th 2006 by Scarecrow Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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This was a must-read for me when I discovered it, as I am or have been a rabid fan of all four of the "fantasists" discussed here; Lively's The House in Norham Gardens and Garner's Elidor are both on my [Very Eclectic:] Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time list. And I *did* enjoy the reading, but I can't really say that any of it stuck. Perhaps the tone was somewhat too academic for my taste? (I did get hung up making sure I read ALL the copious endnotes, which meant reading in two places in the s...more
Sherwood Smith
I am not a scholar, so my reading in letters is haphazard at best. So, as far as I know, this is the first literary treatment of writers who came after Tolkien, but there's a twist. This work does not tread Tom Shippey's ground (it's not an apologia for Tolkien and his influence); Butler is neutral about Tolkien—even-handed with pitfalls and praises—as he looks at four writers who attended Oxford when Tolkien (and Lewis) were teaching there. And then goes on to examine the work of writers who ma...more
T.E. Shepherd
I've owned this book since it came out in 2006 but have shamefully only just got around to reading it. I am sorry that this is the case because it is a fascinating read. Through a series of four literary essays and a conclusion Charles Butler discusses the work of four of my favourite authors in this book.

At first glance you may wonder why he has selected these four to discuss, when on the face of it their writing (particularly Penelope Lively's) does not perhaps seem that similar. The reason,...more
Candy Wood
This is a good book for anyone interested in how the work of Alan Garner, Penelope Lively, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper bases fantasy on the reality of specific places in Britain, past and present. Butler's material comes from a close reading of the texts and personal interviews with the authors, but at the same time he doesn't neglect the body of scholarship on these authors, incorporating critical responses by a wide variety of scholars. Beginning by pointing out that all four authors w...more
N.J. Ramsden
A pretty good general study of a wide range these four authors' works. Bulter covers plenty of ground, but at the expense of sometimes balance between the four and sometimes a sense of where the argument lies. If anything, I'm not sure Butler really has an overall argument so much, but does succeed in presenting a few useful and thought-provoking insights into some of these writers' methods and modes. Worth looking into if you're interested in this kind of thing.
Austen to Zafón
May 31, 2009 Austen to Zafón marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Why: I don't know Alan Garner, but I love the other writers listed. I did not know that they all studied at Oxford when Lewis and Tolkien where lecturing there. Interesting. The library doesn't have it, so I've requested they order it because I don't really want to spend $45 to buy it. One review said, "this important title...belongs in any library that serves a liberal-arts curriculum. It is highly readable, commandingly intelligent, and refreshingly jargon-free. A seminal work of criticism."
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