Book: The Purpose of Fantasy - A Reader's Guide to Twelve Selected Books with Good Values and Spiritual Depth by Philip Martin
|5 stars based on the 3 most helpful Amazon reviews|
Philip Martinabout this book: This is a spirited manifesto on the enduring value of fantasy literature and a look at its focus on exploring important matters of imagination, belief, and values we hold dear.
I had written an earlier 2009 book on fantasy literature, A Guide to Fantasy Literature, which looked at the main building blocks of the genre (fantastic places, characters, themes, etc.). It included a brief chapter on the role of fantasy in exploring questions of belief and deep values, for children and adults.
This new book expands that to look more closely at matters of the deep spiritual and philosophical issues embodied in fantasy's great stories.
With intro chapters on questions like "Is fantasy escapist?", "Is fantasy subversive?", "Are children's books only for children?", and Tolkien and Chesterton's thoughts on the importance of fantasy and fairy-tale stories, The Purpose of Fantasy then explores some exemplary works of fantasy. From The Wind in the Willows to The Little Prince, from The Ocean at the End of the Lane to Charlotte's Web, and other books by Michael Ende, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, Peter Beagle, E.B. White, Tove Jansson, and others, The Purpose of Fantasy ties together themes of fantasy's creative explorations of the inner world of belief, spirituality, and deep philosophical questions.
It is a great resource for all interested in fantasy for both kids and adults, for writers, for parents wondering if fantasy is good for kids (perhaps worrying that it is based in frivolous flights of fancy), for book clubs interesting in thought-provoking books ideal for group discussion, and for all interested in why the best fantasy books capture our imagination, hold our interest, and stay with us for so long.
The hardest part of this book: limiting myself to 12 books to explore in depth! The works chosen here are worth reading (or re-reading), and will lead readers to other works by these celebrated authors and other literary greats.
The book include helpful questions for book-club discussion groups.
preview: read a sample from this book
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
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