A groundbreaking contribution to the critical literature, this volume represents the most extensive study of the fantastic in poetry published to date. Designed to serve both as an introduction to and a historical overview of fantastic poetry in the Anglo-American tradition, the authors closely analyze specific periods and poems in order to illuminate more clearly the relationships among fantasty, the fantastic, science fiction, and poetry. The scope of the study is unusually broad and encompasses material from Spenser through the work of a wide range of contemporary American and British poets.
Although the contributors focus primarily on English-language authors, their essays provide theoretical and practical criticism relevant to the study of the fantastic in poetry in any language. Among the innovative approaches developed are a feminist-fantastic revisionary reading of Keat's Lamia and a conceptualization of the role of fantasy in the writing of holocaust poetry. In addition, the contributors analyze such works as C.S. Lewis's Dymer, Ed Dorn's Slinger, Victorian women's fantasies, the poetry of Margaret Atwood, Anne Sexton, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others. Taken together, these essays should not only spark critical debate on the intersection of fantasy and poetry but also become the essential starting point for any new criticism of fantastic poems.