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ENGL323 Fantasy and the Imagination (Advanced)

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

An advanced examination of fantasy literature, from Tolkien to Game of Thrones, and the interaction between the literary and the visual, by way of illustrations, dust jackets, stage-plays, videogames, TV and movies.

This paper will focus on fantasy works, from the highly-wrought worlds of epic fantasy, and shorter tales of the mythical and marvellous. Key issues will include adaptation, filmic and literary narrative, portal quest vs. immersive fantasy, and childhood and the imagination.

Paper title Fantasy and the Imagination (Advanced)
Paper code ENGL323
Subject English
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Summer School
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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18 200-level ENGL points
ENGL 223
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Teaching Staff: Ms Nicola CumminsDr Paul Tankard

Paper Structure
This paper is taught in four 1-hour lectures each week, two 1-hour tutorials each week, and one 2-hour seminar for six weeks.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000). Any edition. These are the first two books in the series; some familiarity with the following five will be assumed.

Charles Perrault, The Complete Fairy Tales (1697), illus. Gustave Dore, trans. Christopher Betts. Oxford World’s Classics.

George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind, illus. Arthur Hughes (1871). Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics.

Ursula Le Guin, Earthsea: the First Four Books. Puffin Books. There were eventually 6 Earthsea novels, but the first three, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore, are a self-contained trilogy (and all are short)

Beowulf, trans. Michael Alexander. Penguin Classics.

Sir Orfeo, trans. supplied.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 3. vols, (1954–55) Allen & Unwin single-vol. paperback preferred. Not a trilogy, but one long novel, to be read in its entirety. Recommended, on account of its length, that you read this first.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Information Literacy, Critical Thinking, Global Perspective, Communication, Scholarship, Self-Motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
As a result of this paper, students will achieve the following outcomes:
  • Gain familiarity with international scholarship on fantasy literature, especially the historical roots of the genre. In-depth Knowledge and Global Perspective
  • Develop the ability to analyse fantasy literature logically, to challenge conventional assumptions and to consider different options and viewpoints. Information Literacy and Critical Thinking
  • Develop the ability to communicate information, arguments and analyses effectively, both orally and in writing. Communication
  • Develop the ability to conduct research by recognising when information is needed and by locating, retrieving, evaluating and using it effectively. Scholarship
  • Develop the capacity for self-directed activity and the ability to work independently. Self-Motivation

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Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 2-7
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 2-7
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 2-7
Thursday 11:00-11:50 2-5, 7


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 3-7
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 2-7