Fantastic books and where to find them: libraries in fairytale and fantasy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Fantasy, libraries are often labyrinthine, like the brain itself; they are attractive repositories of magical power and secrets, but also dangerous zones where characters can become trapped. Books are frequently imaged as living forms that may fly, bite, or shriek. Authors of Fantasy sometimes stage conflict in the library between a conception of texts as static, orderly, authoritative repositories of predominantly male knowledge and a more fluid conception of texts as organic, generative bundles of cells whose implicitly female corpus revels in perpetual flux and multivalent modes of knowing. These authors stage metatextual debate between the genres of History and Fantasy in the library that asserts the power of Fantasy and its status within the Academy. In this genre, the book one finds in the library typically relates to one’s inner life: a text that can transform the dead language of knowledge into the living dialogue of action.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLibraries in literature
EditorsAlice Crawford, Robert Crawford
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780191946165
ISBN (Print)9780192855732
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022


  • Fantasy
  • Feminism
  • Genre
  • Magic
  • Metatextuality


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