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On the Fiction of Robert Holdstock

mars 23, 2011

The Mythic Fantasy of Robert Holdstock: Critical Essays on the Fiction
Last week, I finally got to see, as a physical object, a book I have been waiting for a long time. It is the 26th book in McFarland’s series Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and it bears the title The Mythic Fantasy of Robert Holdstock: Critical Essays on the Fiction. Edited by Donald E. Morse and Kálmán Matolcsy, it contains eleven essays on various aspects of Holdstock’s works, written by scholars both famous and less well-known (including myself). The table of contents includes:

  • Foreword: Under the Spell of a Magician (Brian W. Aldiss)
  • Introduction: Mythago Wood – ”A Source of Visions and Adventure” (Donald E. Morse)
  • 1. The Embodiment of Abstraction in the Mythago Novels (W. A. Senior)
  • 2. Masks in the Forest: The Dynamics of Surface and Depth in the Mythago Cycle (Kálmán Matolcsy)
  • 3. Exploring the Habitats of Myths: The Spatiotemporal Structure of Ryhope Wood (Stefan Ekman)
  • 4. Time Winds: Early Science Fiction (Andy Sawyer)
  • 5. Profusion Sublime and Fantastic: Mythago Wood (Marek Oziewicz)
  • 6. Tallis, the Feminine Presence in Mythago Wood: Lavondyss: Journey to an Unknown Region (Elizabeth A. Whittingham)
  • 7. Embedded Narratives in Lavondyss and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (Vera Benczik)
  • 8. Stories to Illuminate Truth and Lies to Hide Pain: Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn (Donald E. Morse)
  • 9. ”A Heap of Broken Images” – The Mythological Wasteland of the Mind: The Hollowing and Ancient Echoes (Ildikó Limpár)
  • 10. ”So many names in so many tongues …”: Allusive Mythology in Celtica (C. W. Sullivan III)
  • 11. Thresholds, Polders, and Crosshatches in the Merlin Codex (Tom Shippey)
  • Robert Holdstock Bibliography

I’ve yet to read all of the contributions, but based on what I have had a chance to read so far, and based on my knowledge of many of the scholars involved (humbly including my own text), this is a great piece of work which would have pleased Rob tremendously. It certainly is a fitting monument to the memory of one of the greatest fantasy writers we’ve seen.

(The book is also featured on the Robert Holdstock web site.)

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