Monday, October 25, 2004

Fantasy island: The Boston Globe considers Britain's tradition of children's fantasy novels with adult appeal, from Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit to His Dark Materials and even Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell:

"Academics date the beginning of fantasy writing for children back to the publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in 1865. According to Professor Naomi Wood of Kansas State University, fantasy emerged as a reaction 'against the hyper-realism and didacticism in early children's literature.

"The arrival of Tolkien's The Hobbit in 1937 and the publication of Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 1950 took fantasy literature to a whole new level. Confronting the dramatic transformations of the 20th century, the world of fantasy was a way for Tolkien and Lewis 'to go back and capture an England that to them was disappearing,' said Wood."