De-demonising universality : transcultural dragons and the universal agent in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and David Eddings' The Belgariad

Steenkamp, Janka (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009-12)

Thesis (MA (English))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation provides a reading of the fantasy novel series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Belgariad by David Eddings. In particular this dissertation endeavours to recuperate a literary critical methodology rooted in Myth Criticism. Further, it seeks to demonstrate the continued relevance and necessity of this form of criticism in our postmodern era and to refute some of the commonplaces of postmodern critical theory, specifically the poststructuralist scepticism towards the idea of universal truth and individual agency. Using Jungian theory, myth critics ranging from Laurence Coupe to Joseph Campbell and incorporating various postmodern theorists, like the contemporary Marxist theorist Terry Eagleton, and fantasy critics like Brian Attebery and Ursula LeGuin, this dissertation aims to give a well-rounded analysis of the merits of looking at fantasy as a legitimate field of literary study. Moreover, this dissertation seeks to illustrate the fact that fantasy is capable of informing readers’ interaction with the ‘real’ world and that this genre allows for insight into identity formation in present day reality. The chief structure used to explore these claims is an analysis of the Hero’s Journey.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: This dissertation provides a reading of the fantasy novel series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Belgariad by David Eddings. In particular this dissertation endeavours to recuperate a literary critical methodology rooted in Myth Criticism. Further, it seeks to demonstrate the continued relevance and necessity of this form of criticism in our postmodern era and to refute some of the commonplaces of postmodern critical theory, specifically the poststructuralist scepticism towards the idea of universal truth and individual agency. Using Jungian theory, myth critics ranging from Laurence Coupe to Joseph Campbell and incorporating various postmodern theorists, like the contemporary Marxist theorist Terry Eagleton, and fantasy critics like Brian Attebery and Ursula LeGuin, this dissertation aims to give a well-rounded analysis of the merits of looking at fantasy as a legitimate field of literary study. Moreover, this dissertation seeks to illustrate the fact that fantasy is capable of informing readers’ interaction with the ‘real’ world and that this genre allows for insight into identity formation in present day reality. The chief structure used to explore these claims is an analysis of the Hero’s Journey.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/3088
This item appears in the following collections: