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    An examination of fantasy literature, from Beowulf to Harry Potter, 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 the tradition of fantasy stories, from the highly-wrought worlds of epic fantasy, centred around Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' and shorter tales of the mythical and marvellous. Key issues will include adaptation, oral and literary narrative, portal quest vs. immersive fantasy, and childhood and the imagination.

    About this paper

    Paper title Fantasy and the Imagination (Advanced)
    Subject English
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Summer School (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level ENGL points
    ENGL 223
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    Teaching staff

    Associate Professor Paul Tankard

    Ms Nicola Cummins

    Paper Structure

    This paper is taught in four 1-hour lectures each week and two 1-hour tutorials each week for six weeks.


    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling (any edition).

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (any edition).

    The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault [1697], [trans.] Angela Carter (1977), intro. Jack Zipes (Penguin, 2002).
    The Complete Fairy Tales, Perrault, Charles, Oxford World's Classics Oxford University Press (2010).

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

    Ursula Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea.

    J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 3. vols, (1954-55) HarperCollins 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


    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 2-5, 7
    Wednesday 11:00-11:50 2-7
    Thursday 11:00-11:50 2-7


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