Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created

Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created

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Overview

A glorious collection that delves deep into the inception, influences, and literary and historical underpinnings of nearly 100 of our most beloved fictional realms.

Literary Wonderlands is a thoroughly researched, wonderfully written, and beautifully produced book that spans four thousand years of creative endeavor. From Spenser's The Fairie Queene to Wells's The Time Machine to Murakami's 1Q84 it explores the timeless and captivating features of fiction's imagined worlds including the relevance of the writer's own life to the creation of the story, influential contemporary events and philosophies, and the meaning that can be extracted from the details of the work. Each piece includes a detailed overview of the plot and a "Dramatis Personae." Literary Wonderlands is a fascinating read for lovers of literature, fantasy, and science fiction.

Laura Miller is the book's general editor. Co-founder of Salon.com, where she worked as an editor and writer for 20 years, she is currently a books and culture columnist at Slate. A journalist and a critic, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the "Last Word" column for two years. She is the author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia and editor of the Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316316385
Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Series: Literary Worlds Series
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 177,198
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Laura Miller is the book's general editor. Co-founder of Salon.com, where she worked as an editor and writer for 20 years, she is currently a books and culture columnist at Slate. A journalist and a critic, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the "Last Word" column for two years. She is the author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia and editor of the Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors.

Table of Contents

Introduction 10

1 Ancient Myth & Legend

Anonymous: The Epic of Gilgamesh, c.1750 BCE 16

Homer: The Odyssey, c.725-675 BCE 18

Ovid: Metamorphoses, c.8 22

Anonymous: Beowulf, c.700-1100 28

Anonymous: The Thousand and One Nights, c.700-947 30

Anonymous: The Mabinogion, 12th-14th century 34

The Prose Edda, c.1220 Snorri Sturluson 36

The Divine Comedy, c.1308-21 Dante Alighieri 40

Le Morte d'Arthur, 1485 Thomas Malory 44

Orlando Furioso, c.1516/32 Ludovico Ariosto 48

Utopia, 1516 Thomas More 52

The Faerie Queene, 1590-1609 Edmund Spenser 54

Journey to the West (Xiyouji), c.1592 Wu Cheng'En 58

The City of the Sun, 1602 Tommaso Campanella 60

Don Quixote, 1605/15 Miguel De Cervantes 62

The Tempest, 1611 William Shakespeare 64

A Voyage to the Moon, 1657 Cyrano De Bergerac 68

The Description of a New World, called The Blazing-World, 1666 Margaret Cavendish 70

2 Science & Romanticism

Gulliver's Travels, 1726 Jonathan Swift 74

The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, 1741 Ludvig Holberg 78

The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby, 1863 Charles Kingsley 80

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1865 Lewis Carroll 82

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1870 Jules Verne 88

Erewhon, 1872 Samuel Butler 94

The Ring of the Nibelung, 1876 Richard Wagner 96

Treasure Island, 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson 100

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, 1884 Edwin A. Abbott 104

Looking Backward: 2000-1887, 1888 Edward Bellamy 106

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889 Mark Twain 108

The Time Machine, 1895 H. G. Wells 110

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900 L. Frank Baum 116

3 Golden Age of Fantasy

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, 1906 J. M. Barrie 124

The Lost World, 1912 Arthur Conan Doyle 130

At the Earths Core, 1914 Edgar Rice Burroughs 132

Herland, 1915 Charlotte Perkins Gilman 134

Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Adventures Wonderful, 1918 Cecilia May Gibbs 136

We, 1924 Yevgeny Zamyatin 138

The Castle, 1926 Franz Kafka 140

The Cthulhu Mythos, 1928-37 H. P. Lovecraft 144

Brave New World, 1932 Aldous Huxley 148

Conan the Barbarian, 1932-36 Robert E. Howard 154

Alamut, 1938 Vladimir Bartol 156

Tlón, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, 1941 Jorge Luis Borges 158

Islandia, 1942 Austin Tappan Wright 162

The Little Prince, 1943 Antoine De Saint-Exupéry 164

The Moomins and the Great Flood, 1945 Tove Jansson 166

4 New World Order

Gormenghast, 1946-59 Mervyn Peake 170

Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949 George Orwell 174

The Chronicles of Narnia, 1950-56 C. S. Lewis 178

I, Robot, 1950 Isaac Asimov 184

Fahrenheit 451, 1953 Ray Bradbury 186

The Lord of the Rings, 1954-55 J. R. R. Tolkien 188

Pedro Páramo, 1955 Juan Rulfo 192

Solaris, 1961 Stanislaw Lem 194

A Clockwork Orange, 1962 Anthony Burgess 196

Pale Fire, 1962 Vladimir Nabokov 198

Planet of the Apes, 1963 Pierre Boulle 200

One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967 Gabriel García Márquez 204

A Wizard of Earthsea, 1968 Ursula K. Le Guin 206

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, 1968 Philip K. Dick 208

The Last Unicorn, 1968 Peter S. Beagle 210

Slaughterhouse-Five, 1969 Kurt Vonnegut 212

Ringworld, 1970 Larry Niven 214

Invisible Cities, 1972 Italo Calvino 216

The Princess Bride, 1973 William Goldman 218

Dhalgren, 1975 Samuel R. Delany 220

W or the Memory of Childhood, 1975 Georges Perec 222

Egalia's Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes, 1977 Gerd Mjøen Brantenberg 224

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, 1979 Angela Carter 226

Kindred, 1979 Octavia E. Butler 230

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 1979 Douglas Adams 232

5 The Computer Age

The Dark Tower series, 1982-2012 Stephen King 238

The Discworld series, 1983-2015 Terry Pratchett 240

Neuromancer, 1984 William Gibson 244

The Handmaid's Tale, 1985 Margaret Atwood 248

The Culture series, 1987-2012 Iain M. Banks 252

Obabakoak, 1988 Bernardo Atxaga 254

The Sandman, 1988-2015 Neil Gaiman et al 256

Snow Crash, 1992 Neal Stephenson 258

The Giver, 1993 Lois Lowry 260

His Dark Materials, 1995-2000 Philip Pullman 262

A Game of Thrones, 1996 George R. R. Martin 264

Infinite lest, 1996 David Foster Wallace 268

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 1997 J. K. Rowling 272

The Bas-Lag cycle, 2000-04 China Miéville 276

The Eyre Affair, 2001 Jasper Fforde 282

Inkheart, 2003 Cornelia Funke 284

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, 2004 Susanna Clarke 286

Cloud Atlas, 2004 David Mitchell 288

Never Let Me Go, 2005 Kazuo Ishiguro 290

Wizard of the Crow, 2006 Ngügi Wa Thiong'O 292

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, 2007 Michael Chabon 294

The Hunger Games, 2008 Suzanne Collins 296

1Q84, 2009-10 Haruki Murakami 298

The Man with the Compound Eyes, 2011 Wu Ming-Yi 302

The Imperial Radch trilogy, 2013-15 Ann Leckie 304

Lagoon, 2014 Nnedi Okopafor 306

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, 2015 Salman Rushdie 308

Contributor Biographies 310

Index 314

Credits 318

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