Children’s Literature

In this course, we will study fantasy narratives that invite readers to immerse themselves in enchanted alternative realms, or magical worlds enmeshed within the realm of everyday life. Revisiting familiar environs such as Middle-Earth and Narnia concluding with trips through more contemporary and diverse fantasylands, we will investigate how authors employ the tools of fiction to craft such convincing alternative worlds. Are these fantasies an escapist solution to the problem of modern disenchantment, or can we tell some other, more complicated story about their emergence and function? Since creative writers are themselves astute critics of fantasy, we will draw inspiration from essays by Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip Pullman, Daniel José Older, Zetta Elliott, and other writers for whom criticism itself constitutes a creative act.