Diana Wynne Jones: The Fantastic Tradition and Children's Literature (Hardback) book cover

Diana Wynne Jones

The Fantastic Tradition and Children's Literature

By Farah Mendlesohn

© 2006 – Routledge

280 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415872898
pub: 2009-06-16
Hardback: 9780415970235
pub: 2005-08-26
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pub: 2013-09-13
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British author Diana Wynne Jones has been writing speculative fiction for children for more than thirty years. A clear influence on more recent writers such as J. K. Rowling, her humorous and exciting stories of wizard's academies, dragons, and griffins-many published for children but read by all ages-are also complexly structured and thought provoking critiques of the fantasy tradition. This is the first serious study of Jones's work, written by a renowned science fiction critic and historian. In addition to providing an overview of Jones's work, Farah Mendlesohn also examines Jones's important critiques of the fantastic tradition's ideas about childhood and adolescence.


"A very perceptive study." -- London Evening Standard

"Mendlesohn's thought-provoking and critically informed work…is a valuable source not only for those interested in fantasy or in Jones's output, but also for educators concerned with fostering children's intllectual capacities." Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak, Marvels & Tales

"This much needed book will be an invaluable companion to those who are already enthusiastic about the work of Diana Wynne Jones, as well as being a more than useful guide to those as yet relatively unfamiliar with her novels. Mendelsohn's emphasis is on Jones as a writer of critical fantasy, and the distinctions she draws between different varieties of fantasy (such as portal-quest and immersive) are particularly helpful in the light they throw on her claim that Jones's novels are in effect teaching young readers how to read the fantastic intelligently and critically." -- Pat Pinsent, Senior Research Fellow, National Centre for Research in Children's Literature, University of Roehampton

"Farah Mendlesohn has provided an excellent and long overdue study on the fantasy literature of Diana Wynne Jones; her carefully considered insights will shape critical discussions of Jones and her fiction for years to come." -- C.W. Sullivan III, Welsh Celtic Myth and Modern Fantasy

"extremely convincing….Mendlesohn has done a great service"--Maureen Kincaid Speller, University of Kent at Canterbury

About the Author

Farah Mendlesohn is a noted science fiction critic and historian. She is Editor of the journal Foundation: the International Review of Science Fiction and has twice served as a judge for the esteemed Arthur C. Clarke award for best work in sf. She co-edited, with Professor Edward James, The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature