Stephen R. Donaldson and the Modern Epic Vision

A Critical Study of the “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” Novels

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About the Book

This critical study analyzes Stephen R. Donaldson’s role as a modern writer who uses the fantasy genre to discuss situations and predicaments germane to the modern world. Donaldson reclaims an epic vision in his Thomas Covenant novels that is lacking in most modern literature. Chapters demonstrate how this use of epic heroism helps solve seemingly insurmountable problems and provides more meaning and purpose for individuals. As Donaldson’s characters learn to transcend their world, the reader is engaged in a serious, enlightened discussion about the need for imagination, responsibility and acceptance to resolve such problems as alienation, pollution, disease and despair.

About the Author(s)

Christine Barkley is a retired English professor at Palomar College in San Marcos, California.

Bibliographic Details

Christine Barkley. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4288-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5323-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Preface      1
Introduction      5

Chapter 1: Ur-Lord of the (White Gold) Ring      29
Chapter 2: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Leper      44
Chapter 3: Remembrance of Some Things Past      67
Chapter 4: They Could Not Go Home Again      86
Chapter 5: Something Evil This Way Comes      141
Chapter 6: A Farewell to Armaments      160
Chapter 7: The Time “Machine”: Speculations on Time and Space Travel in the “Last Chronicles”      177

Chapter Notes      201
Bibliography      205
Index      207

Book Reviews & Awards

“no course on Donaldson, epic fantasy, or modern fantasy should be without this book”—Mythlore.