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lewelma

Creating an English course based on Fantasy Literature

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My younger son really likes Fantasy literature and I would like to bump it up into an English class.  He likes books with beautiful writing, deep thinking, large vocabulary, moving plot, and generally positive outlook. So I know a book like Gormenghast by Mervin Peake would not work because the plot is way too slow, and I also know there are some fantasy books that are dark, which would be a no go (He didn't like Donaldson because the leprosy thing was too depressing).  I have just bought him Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which I understand to be well written and deep.  What books would you suggest for this class?  Do you have any resources (lectures, list of tropes, sub-genres, literary analysis of fantasy, etc.) that we could work through? It looks like there used to be a coursera course out of University of Michigan but I can no longer find it. sniff.

Thanks for any and all ideas!

Ruth in NZ

 

ETA: just looked at American Gods by Gaimen (won a bunch of awards), and it appears to be part horror. That is also a no go.

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Lord of the Rings would be a must-include.

In highschool, DD took a  college course on fantasy literature. I'll see if I can find the reading list.

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There is a Modern Scholars lecture series one of my kids listened to. It is by Michael Drout.  Good stuff, but very focuses on Tolkien and Lewis  (And their influencers).  Ds2 liked Drout a lot and sought out his podcasts.  

I did a course I called Roots of Steampunk Literature in which they read a number of works of classic British and American fiction like Frankenstein,  Jekyl and Hyde, and Dracula.  I added a Steampunk anthology and Diamond Age to show where the genre had gone. 

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Wonderful!  mumto2 you found the course I had heard of!  yea! And Sebastian, the lecture series looks great and is in my cart.  And Regentrude, I would love to see the book list your dd used if you can find it.  Thanks, guys!  My plan is to have him continue to listen to classics (he just finished pride and prejudice and *loved* it),  watch/discuss Shakespeare movies, and read poetry (which he loves).  But for his everyday reading, he just can't seem to get into anything but fantasy, so I think I'll just go with it and make it awesome, complex, and insightful!

I asked ds (who just woke up) what he has read. This is what he can remember:

Lord of the Rings

Enchanted Forest chronicles

Novels of Valdemar (Mercedies Lackey)

Temeraire series

Wheel of Time (Jordan)

Belgariad (Eddings)

Watership down

Last Unicorn

Once and Future King

Riftwar Saga (Feist)

Golden Compass series

Eragon series

Narnia series

 

Some of these books are literature and some are not.  Most are pretty easy/basic.  I'd like to move him into more difficult books and a variety of sub-genres. I think I start with his favorite (epic fantasy) build up the complexity and move to expand to other subgenres.  So epic fantasy that looks complex and has a positive outlook:

The wheel of time (finish)

Earthsea cycle (leGuin)

The Kingkiller chronicles (Rothfuss)

Lyonesse Trilogy (vance)

Shadowmarch (williams)

The farseer - assassin's apprentice (Hobb)

Prince of Nothing (Bakker)

 

Any comments on these books?  Off to look for more....

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Other books of fantasy but not necessarily epic. 

Paula Volsky historically based magical realism (no dragons). Can be read in any order, but Illusion was the first written. It's a take on a French Revolution with magical automatons. The Grand Ellipse is a magical contest similar to Around the World in 80 Days.

The Bear and the Nightingale 

The Night Circus

The Golem and the Djinni

Sorcery and Cecilia

 

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I just had a quick chat with my Dd and she said to make sure he reads I, Robot, Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, and Pratchett (Mort specifically).  :).   If he develops a love of Pratchett there is a wonderful reading flow chart that dd used to read the books in a somewhat proper order.

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There are quite a few other Lackey books besides the Valdemar ones that he may like.  My kids just read the Joust series.

Barbra Hambly Time of the Dark or Sunwolf/Starhawk Trilogy.

Terry Brooks Shannara Trilogies.

 

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