Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy


Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy



Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy is the first collection of essays in English focusing on how fantasy draws deeply on ancient Greek and Roman mythology, philosophy, literature, history, art, and cult practice. Presenting fifteen all-new essays intended for both scholars and other readers of fantasy, this volume explores many of the most significant examples of the modern genre-including the works of H. P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, and more-in relation to important ancient texts such as Aeschylus' Oresteia, Aristotle's Poetics, Virgil's Aeneid, and Apuleius' The Golden Ass. These varied studies raise fascinating questions about genre, literary and artistic histories, and the suspension of disbelief required not only of readers of fantasy but also of students of antiquity. Ranging from harpies to hobbits, from Cyclopes to Cthulhu, and all manner of monster and myth in-between, this comparative study of Classics and fantasy reveals deep similarities between ancient and modern ways of imagining the world. Although antiquity and the present day differ in many ways, at its base, ancient literature resonates deeply with modern fantasy's image of worlds in flux and bodies in motion.

Publication Date



Oxford University Press


fantasy, classical, classical mythology, epic, antiquity, Lovecraft, Tolkien, Hobbit, underworlds, C. S. Lewis, Dawn Treader, Apuleius' Metamorphoses, Apuleius, Till We Have Faces, Pantheon, Orestes, Harry Potter, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows, ghosts of Aeschylus, Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials, Golden Compass, Amber Spyglass, Subtle Knife, Disney, Pixar, Pixar's Brave, Mimnermos, Anne Carson, Brainsex Paintings, Aeneas, Jo Graham, Black Ships, Virgil, George R. R. Martin, Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thones


Arts and Humanities | Classics

Original Publication Information

Oxford University Press

Classical Traditions in Modern Fantasy