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Fantasy Literature class offered again this fall

By Jenifer Nicks
On March 21, 2013


"Wizard beards are acceptable" for the Fantasy Literature class this upcoming fall.

Dr. John Glass, Assistant Professor of English and who obviously appreciates wizard beards, will once again be facilitating the English 496 course, which will be held at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Students enrolled in the class will be reading the works of Samuel Butler, William Morris, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, which includes Butler's "Erewhon," Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings."

While the course will be reusing some of the same works as last fall,there will be some changes and additions.

"With the Lewis, ... I think we'll stick with 'The Horse and His Boy'and 'The Last Battle,' but then I'm going to add 'The Magician's Nephew,' which is not a terribly long piece, but useful in conjunction with the other two," Glass said.

"I'm going to switch out 'The Well at the World's End'with another book by Morris called 'The House of the Wolfings' ... the book that gives Tolkien Mirkwood."

For Tolkien, students will be reading excerpts from some of his other works in what Glass hopes will be useful in considering the influence of Norse mythology prevalent in Tolkien's work.

Glass also plans on adding more of Rowling's writing.

"I want to add some extra elements of Rowling. ... I think I can supplement the Rowling with some sections of some of the other Harry Potter novels to flesh out development of characters a bit and think about how themes developed through the books," Glass said.

The class will also have some scheduling changes.

"We'll re-pace the course a bit so that Morris gets a little bit less time but maybe some more intensive discussion about how you write and create literary landscapes," Glass said.

Glass emphasizes the role of fantasy literature in enhancing an understanding of the world.

"Fantasy literature lets us look at and think about our world by clearing away all of the immediate baggage that we carry around us. It gives a way to look at the world with fresh eyes or from a fresh perspective," Glass said.

"All the same elements are present in fantasy lit: relationships between people and borders of reality. When you get to look at a place that you think you don't know or where you feel like your imagination is free to run, you're able to make connections to things we don't see in our day-to-day world. It's the illusion of being someplace else."

Glass is hopeful to repeat the success of last fall's Fantasy Literature class.

"I really hope that it will as successful as it was last time. ... I'm hopeful there will be a kind of mix again of people who love these books. ... I learned as much as anybody did."

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