A guest lecture by Dr Maria Cecire (Bard College) discussing children's fantasy literature.
Maria Sachiko Cecire introduces the idea of an Oxford School of children’s fantasy literature, describing how J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis pushed back against "modern" cultural changes in the first half of the 20th-century through both the fiction they wrote while medievalists at the University of Oxford and as the architects of a new English curriculum that inspired future fantasy writers including Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, and Philip Pullman. Cecire addresses the after-effects of this legacy, with an emphasis on the colonialist fantasies of white male heroism that circulated in the genre well after the end of empire and 21st-century responses by authors (such as Junot Díaz) whose fiction reclaims enchantment for audiences often excluded by mainstream fantasy. This lecture has been adapted from material published by the University of Minnesota Press in Cecire's book 'Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century' (available at: https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/re-enchanted).
Maria Sachiko Cecire is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the Center for Experimental Humanities at Bard College (USA). She is the author of 'Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century' (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), and co-editor of 'Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789-Present' (Routledge, 2015) with Hannah Field, Kavita Mudan Finn, and Malini Roy.