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The Encyclopedia of Fantasy Hardcover – 1997
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This masterful follow-up to the 1993 Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an essential purchase for anyone who's serious about fantasy. Those who are serious about horror will also find it an excellent reference. The works of prolific and confusing authors such as Michael Moorcock, as well as authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien who have many posthumously published fragments, are explained with admirable clarity. Especially fascinating are the numerous terms for motifs and themes, constituting what the editors call a map of the many "fuzzy sets" in the universe of fantasy fiction--terms such as "crosshatch," "polder," and "water margin." There are many entries on horror movies and the better-known horror writers (only writers who write no fantasy, such as Richard Laymon, are excluded). You'll also find carefully written definitions of horror, dark fantasy, supernatural fiction, gothic fiction, psychological thrillers, and weird fiction. Locus calls The Encyclopedia of Fantasy "massive and welcome," and writes, "This will be the standard reference for years to come." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up. A comprehensive resource about fantasy literature and media. Similar in format to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (St. Martin's, 1993), it presents a thorough catalog of authors, awards, movies, TV shows, fantastic themes, historical individuals, and articles on the literature of various nations. There are entries on Howard the Duck and Homer, Santa Claus and Silverberg, Garcia Marquez and Germany. Articles are concise, detailed, and clearly written, although the text is sometimes dry. The book's main value is its cross-referencing. An entry about an author highlights themes covered elsewhere in bold face, and vice versa. For example, the definition of Steam Punk as a fantasy sub-genre refers to Alternative Worlds and to the author Tim Powers. By leading browsers from their favorite writer's works to articles about specific thematic elements and then to other authors who write along similar themes, The Encyclopedia serves as an efficient reader's guide to the genre. Unfortunately, specific mythological elements are not as thoroughly covered. Although there are articles on unicorns and dragons in fantastic literature, there is no entry covering griffins. Still, this is a useful reference book.?Lawrence Kapture, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I had coveted this book for quite some time before I ordered my copy. Aside from being a longtime and irredeemable fantasy geek, I am also an English teacher at a small independent school, and our reference library has a copy. This fact has enabled me to waste many happy free periods rifling through the _Encyclopedia_ instead of, say, grading papers or thinking deep, serious thoughts about the state of pedagogy in America. But before you write me off as a disgrace to my profession, hear me out:
_The Encyclopedia of Fantasy_ is a remarkable book, and any time I have spent with it in lieu of more mundane tasks is time very well spent indeed. I can even justify this frivolous perusal academically, because what really makes the _Encyclopedia_ a great resource isn't so much its exhaustive listing of authors or titles (much of which information is available elsewhere anyway), but the fact that Clute et al. have managed to accomplish nothing less than a rigorous, consistent, and phenomenally well cross-referenced taxonomy and analytical vocabulary for fantasy. I know, I know, that sounds awfully dry, but it isn't.
I'm a word junkie, so I love learning apt new terms for things, especially if those nameless concepts have gone begging for far too long. When Clute coins the term "thinning" to describe any fantasy world that, over time, loses its magic [Middle-earth, anyone?], you cannot help (assuming you're an aficionado of the genre) but say to yourself, "Aha! Now I know what to call it!" Furthermore, the fact that this vocabulary is employed consistently throughout the _Encyclopedia_ allows for thematic and formal juxtapositions of specific works, combinations and comparisons that might not occur even to the serious fantasy buff. Who needs hypertext when you've got such meticulous cross-indexing?
I recently received an Amazon.com gift certificate from thoughtful in-laws, and decided that even though I have access to a copy at school, I had to have an _Encyclopedia of Fantasy_ at home, both for reference while reading/writing and for couch-sprawl browsing.
I splurged and bought the $75.00 hardback. I had a hunch it would get a lot of use, and I wanted it to last. Money very well spent, as far as I'm concerned, and if you're a fantasy partisan, a literary theory wonk, or just someone who gets off on thousands of pages of really, really small type, you'll probably agree.
As varied and vast as the world of fantasy has become in recent years, this work will surely open up new vistas for any reader, as well as firmly root the history, influence and contributions of the genre in the larger perspective and traditions of our literature. The first of its kind, and a worthy addition to the companion volume by the same authors for science fiction, this work is invaluable, one of the most significant works ever published in fantasy, and deserving of a place of prominence on the shelves of anyone interested in fantasy or the writing of fiction.
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Published in 1996 this 1079 page book is currently the best source for information on item...Read more