29 July 2013

Review: Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn

Hardcover, 306 pages
Published 2008
Borrowed from the library
Read September 2012
Rhetorics of Fantasy
by Farah Mendlesohn

Most theories, of course, really don't mean much at all until you try to use them in practice, which is something I haven't yet had much of a chance to do with Rhetorics of Fantasy, but hope to do someday. I like her formulation of the four types of fantasy (portal-quest, immersive, intrusion, liminal), and what they indicate about our ("the reader's") attitude toward the fantastic, especially as regards observation (but then of course I would, as I am obsessed with observation). Mendelsohn has a keen attention to detail and complications (her point that genres work differently in different media, and thus we can't assume what she says is true for novels is also true for Buffy the Vampire Slayer is well taken), and I look forward to digging into her work in more depth at some point.

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