fantasy as a popular genre in the works of j. r. r. tolkien and j. k.

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  • Masaryk University

    Faculty of Arts

    Department of English and American Studies

    English Language and Literature

    Bc. Tereza Havov

    Fantasy as a Popular Genre in the Works of J. R. R. Tolkien

    and J. K. Rowling

    Masterss Diploma Thesis

    Supervisor: Stephen Paul Hardy, Ph.D.

    Brno 2007

  • 2

    I declare that I have worked on this dissertation independently, using only the sources

    listed in the bibliography.

    .

  • 3

    Acknowledgement

    I would like to thank my supervisor, Stephen Paul Hardy, Ph.D. for his time,

    patience and advice.

    I would also like to say thanks to my eternal source of inspiration, my dark twin,

    the only reader of FW, and the real Draco.

  • 4

    Table of Contents ACKNOWLEDGEMENT .................................................................................................................................... 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................................................... 4

    1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................ 5

    2 GENRE.......................................................................................................................................................... 7

    3 FORMULAIC LITERATURE.................................................................................................................. 11

    3.1 DEFINITION ............................................................................................................................................ 11

    4 ROMANCE ................................................................................................................................................. 14

    4.1 DEFINITION ............................................................................................................................................ 14 4.2 HISTORY ................................................................................................................................................ 17 4.3 CHARACTERISTICS AND FEATURES......................................................................................................... 19

    5 FANTASY ................................................................................................................................................... 25

    5.1 CHARACTERISTICS AND FEATURES......................................................................................................... 26 5.2 HISTORY ................................................................................................................................................ 31

    6 THE NOVEL............................................................................................................................................... 33

    6.1 FEATURES .............................................................................................................................................. 34 6.2 NOVEL VS. ROMANCE ............................................................................................................................ 36

    7 ON FAIRY-STORIES ............................................................................................................................. 37

    7.1 WHAT ARE FAIRY STORIES? ................................................................................................................... 38 7.2 WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF FAIRY STORIES? ............................................................................................... 40 7.3 WHAT ARE THE MAIN FUNCTIONS OF FAIRY STORIES?............................................................................ 41

    8 THE LORD OF THE RINGS.................................................................................................................... 43

    8.1 ROMANCE FEATURES ............................................................................................................................. 45 8.1.1. Plot ............................................................................................................................................... 45 8.1.2. Characters.................................................................................................................................... 49 8.1.3. Setting........................................................................................................................................... 58

    8.2 THE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND OF MIDDLE EARTH ............................................................................... 61 8.3 THE PLOT PATTERN ............................................................................................................................... 67 8.4 OTHER ROMANCE FEATURES IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS..................................................................... 70

    9 HARRY POTTER STORIES .................................................................................................................... 76

    9.1 FORMAL FEATURES................................................................................................................................ 77 9.2 THEMATIC FEATURES ............................................................................................................................ 79

    9.2.1 Plot ................................................................................................................................................ 79 9.2.2 Characters..................................................................................................................................... 86 9.2.3 Setting............................................................................................................................................ 87 9.2.4. Magic............................................................................................................................................ 89

    9.3 FAIRY TALE FEATURES IN HARRY POTTER STORIES .............................................................................. 93 9.4 OTHER FEATURES IN HARRY POTTER STORIES ...................................................................................... 98

    10 CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................................... 106

    11 SHRNUT ................................................................................................................................................ 109

    12 WORKS CITED ..................................................................................................................................... 110

    12.1 PRIMARY SOURCES ............................................................................................................................ 110 12.2 SECONDARY SOURCES ....................................................................................................................... 110 12.3 ENCYCLOPEDIAS AND DICTIONARIES ................................................................................................. 112 12.4 WEB SITES.......................................................................................................................................... 113

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    1 Introduction

    To classify under what genre a literary work fits means to state exactly the formal

    and thematic features of the work and to choose a relevant genre label. It seems to be easy.

    Probably, it is so because the definition supposes there is a certain set of rules given for

    each genre as well as a set of distinct features easily observed in every literary work.

    However, in practice, there are no clear-cut boundaries in literary genres or art in

    general. Categories and definitions are fluid and merge together. No work of art originates

    from a perfectly clean mind because nobody is a pure tabula rasa. The same system of

    interconnections works between authors experience and existing art works and given

    structures and patterns of the genres. It is natural to react to those elements in some way.

    And the effect of the interaction is a new work of art.

    The results of this genre confusion can be seen in the bookshops the useless effort

    to bring order into the shelves. Apart from the practical selling and marketing categories,

    such as new books or bestsellers, the books are organized according to their content (e.g.

    horror stories, science fiction), or the target audience (e.g. books for children, women).

    This thesis deals with the vague sphere of genre classification as well. Its

    significant part is formed by a genre analysis. The genres discussed are romance, fantasy

    and novel, and their connection to two works of popular literature J. K. Rowlings Harry

    Potter series and J. R. R. Tolkiens trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

    The theoretical part of the thesis focus on the definition of a term genre; then it

    covers brief summaries of definitions, typical features, and history of the relevant genres

    formulaic literature, romance, fantasy, and novel. It also mentions the theoretical

    background of fairy stories given by Tolkiens essay On Fairy-Stories which is of great

    importance here.

  • 6

    The analysis itself concerns both formal and thematic features of Harry Potter

    books and The Lord of the Rings, and their relationship to the theoretical genres mentioned

    above.

    Due to the recent popularity of the fantasy genre, the literary