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Victorian Fantasy Literature: Literary Battles With Church and Empire [Hardcover]

Karen Michalson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

December 1990 0889463786 978-0889463783
This study examines the non-literary and non-aesthetic reasons underlying the bias in favour of realism in the formation of the traditional literary canon of 19th-century British fiction. It examines the role of the Anglican Church as well as that of nonconformist or dissenting evangelical sects in the educational institutions of the first half of the century, and the function of the academic study of English literature in British imperialist ideology in the latter part of the century. The author seeks to demonstrate that both Church and Empire needed a canon of realism to promote their own brand of conservative ideology. Victorian fantasy writers often targeted Church doctrine or imperial dogma for especially satirical treatment, thus insuring their own exclusion from the universities which were run by the Church and operated to supply patriotic administrators to the Empire. Examines in detail the ecclesiastical and political context of educational philosophy and how this context affected the reading curriculum and ultimately, the canon.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy is literature Dec 27 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I borrowed this book from my university library as its price far outweighs my student budget. As an aspiring literary scholar with an interest in both fantasy as literature and the literary canon, I found Michalson's study to be provocative and enlightening. She analyzes the life and works of five Victorian writers whose fantasy works have been neglected by scholars: John Ruskin, George MacDonald, Charles Kingsley, Henry Rider Haggard, and Rudyard Kipling. She shows how the influence of both the Anglican Church and British empire building on the nascent British education system prevented fantasy from gaining respect in academic circles. This is important because even though the religion and politics have disappeared, contemporary scholars have inherited the attitude that fantasy is disreputable. I'm tempted to show it to some of my professors who don't consider fantasy to be serious literature.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy is literature Dec 27 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I borrowed this book from my university library as its price far outweighs my student budget. As an aspiring literary scholar with an interest in both fantasy as literature and the literary canon, I found Michalson's study to be provocative and enlightening. She analyzes the life and works of five Victorian writers whose fantasy works have been neglected by scholars: John Ruskin, George MacDonald, Charles Kingsley, Henry Rider Haggard, and Rudyard Kipling. She shows how the influence of both the Anglican Church and British empire building on the nascent British education system prevented fantasy from gaining respect in academic circles. This is important because even though the religion and politics have disappeared, contemporary scholars have inherited the attitude that fantasy is disreputable. I'm tempted to show it to some of my professors who don't consider fantasy to be serious literature.
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