Title page for ETD etd-06172005-113436

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Fratini, Claudia Caia Julia
URN etd-06172005-113436
Document Title Beyond the invisible : a representation of magic in contemporary fantasy literature
Degree MA (English)
Department English
Advisor Name Title
MS M A Brown
  • fantasy fiction English
  • magic in literature
  • Kerr Kathrine criticism and interpretation
  • McKillip Patricia A criticism and interpretation
  • Tolkien JRR 1892-1993 criticism and interpretatio
Date 2002-10-08
Availability unrestricted
The realm of fantasy literature has always been that of the 'invisible', in as much as it has either been 'excluded' from traditional academic circles or at most marginalised from the general body of literary texts and considered a literature of 'escape'. This positioning of fantasy literature has caused a definition of the genre that is two-dimensional, and that perpetuates its alienation from the 'canon'. Although the works of fantasy literature by J.R.R. Tolkien are sometimes considered 'worthy' literature, but he is an exception in literary circles.

In light of the 'invisible' position that fantasy literature occupies, this thesis attempts, through the use of Derridian and Jungian theory to (re)define fantasy literature by proposing a definition of fantasy literature that is three¬dimensional and that stems precisely from its 'invisible' position. The 'spherical' theory proposed illustrates how fantasy literature allows the reader to (re)examine his/her reality by presenting him/her with a reality that is different to his/her everyday concrete reality, but that at the same time shares the same moral, ethical and identity issues found in the 'visible' world and that the reader is faced with on a daily basis.

The prolific use of magic in fantasy cannot be ignored and in this thesis, the use of magic within the texts and its function in a scientifi-rational world is focused on in detail. With each text, a different kind of magic is focused on. In Tolkien, the focus is on Alchemy and how the characters in his novels undergo an Alchemical transformation. The Tolkien texts that are focussed on are The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The chapter on Patricia McKillip focuses primarily on the use of magic in her protagonist's search for identity. The texts used form part of her Riddle Master trilogy and are, The Riddle Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind. The section on Katherine Kerr explores the idea of a 'new' magic for a 'new' world and focuses on how in the three novels, The Red Wyvern, The Black Raven and The Fire Dragon, magic takes on a 'new' definition.

© 2002, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Fratini,CCJ 2002, ”Beyond the invisible” : a representation of magic in contemporary fantasy literature, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06172005-113436/ >


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