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Title: Trajectories, thresholds, transformations : coming of age in classic modern fantasy fiction
Author: Ersoy, Gozde
ISNI:       0000 0004 5988 9449
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines and explores the process of coming of age in successful fantasy fiction series, including J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novel and its prequel The Hobbit, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. In particular, it is suggested that the huge popularity of fantasy stems from the fact that it provides a representation of human agency significantly at odds with the everyday experience of an increasingly bureaucratized and financially-determined world. Analysis shows how fantasy texts provide a universal model that help younger readers to understand the process of maturity as individuation and entry into the intersubjective social world. The central protagonists of such texts have to learn to master concepts such as seeing oneself in the other through intersubjective dialogues, objectifying one’s self in the world, and coping with their own battles, in the process of finding their way to maturity. This fictional “quest” or “journey” provides a model for readers to assess their own realities and actions, which in turn has the effect of changing their understanding and enabling them to critique their own lives. It is demonstrated how these classic and widely translated works of fantastic literature, which reach a huge crossover readership, may be understood in terms of parallel transformational stages such as confusion, inattentional blindness, fear, courage and various attempts of learning the need for moderation. Overall, this analysis, comprising the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, anthropology, education, behavioural economics, sociology, media, and history, explores the processes of transformation and maturation within fantasy literature. At the same time, the case for fantasy literature’s uniqueness in its capacity to reveal the mechanisms of human agency is substantiated within a theoretical framework.
Supervisor: Hubble, N. ; Tew, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fantasy literature ; J.R.R. Tolkein ; Ursula K. Le Guin ; Philip Pullman ; Intersubjectivity