Courses Detail Information
VR291 – The Otherworlds of Fantasy
Credits: 3 credits
Pre-requisites: Vy 100/Vy 200
This course explores the use of the fantastic in literature to create an otherworld, a world that operates upon laws markedly different from the laws that operate in our own world. Under these laws, characters behave in unique ways that also provide commentary and speculation on human behavior in our own world. This course focuses on 20th and 21st century fantasy novels and short stories, published within the United States. It begins by describing the structural characteristics of the otherworld, and how the otherworld intertwines with other generic conventions, such as the hero, the villain, magic, and the monstrous. It then follows up by examining ways in which these generic conventions allow readers to explore other areas, such as immigration (Liu), psychology (Le Guin), local mythology (Lee, Gaiman), intertextuality (Kang), or metatextuality (Anders). By applying a rigid structuralist theory to a set of texts, students will be able to articulate how a story employs generic conventions to encourage readers to think about the world and themselves in new ways.