From Publishers Weekly
This accessible collection of essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer defends the artistic merit of the fantasy TV show with equal parts wit and insight. Wilcox, an English professor at Gordon College, is a fan of the series and doesn't condescend to other fans or disparage what she believes is "art, and deserves to be so studied. It is a work of literature, of language...of visual art...of music and sound." Wilcox looks at the big-picture narrative arc and at individual episodes, finding impressive, but sometimes tenuously connected, influences at work: Joseph Campbell's momomyth, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, John Donne, Virgil and Charles Dickens. "One of the great themes of Dickens's Bleak House," she writes, "is our interconnection; and one of the great themes of Buffy is the virtue of community." Not surprisingly, the author has no patience for critics and academics who dismiss Buffy as mere "cult TV" on the basis of its genre and argues that fantasy can have more emotional resonance than realism. Though not convincing as a work of genuine scholarship, Wilcox's book is a serviceable addition to the canon of Buffy.
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Although television is often looked down upon, Wilcox, one editor of Slayage
, the online journal devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
presents a compelling argument for it as an art form as worthy of respect and acknowledgment as film or literature. She furthers her argument by using Joss Whedon's iconic show as a salient example, drawing on the depth of the characters, the symbolism in the show, and the many real-world commentaries that permeate its narrative. The first half of the book deals with everything from the significance of the characters' names in relation to their identities to parallels between Buffy
and the Harry Potter saga, while the second half offers detailed analyses of seven of Buffy
's finest, most complex episodes, including the ones that deal with the loss of Buffy's virginity and the almost entirely silent episode "Hush." The library of scholarly Buffy
titles continues to grow, with Wilcox's thoughtful, accessible volume an honorable addition to it. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved