The Hidden Library of Tanith Lee

Themes and Subtexts from Dionysos to the Immortal Gene


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About the Book

Despite the great diversity of settings in Tanith Lee’s novels—from the pre-historic origins of Christianity to robot-dominated futurescapes—certain underlying thoughts and references appear consistently. While adhering formally to many of the writing conventions of the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres, Lee also engages the meaning of myths of the Greeks (particularly Dionysos), Egyptians, Persians and Indians. The dynamics of magic, alchemy, shamanism, Gnosticism and reincarnation also surface frequently.
This critical work examines Lee’s highly original applications of such themes and subtexts. Less prominent themes are also covered, as well as her insights into human nature, her humor, her numerous tributes to literature, her comments on writing, her games with space, time and language, and her preoccupation with detail and background. Also included is an interview with Tanith Lee, a bibliography of Lee’s work, a general bibliography, and an index.

About the Author(s)

Retired college instructor Mavis Haut is a full-time writer living in London.

Bibliographic Details

Mavis Haut
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1085-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8368-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vi

Preface     1

Introduction     3

1 Acquiring Identity     7

2 Vis—Race and Myth     27

3 The Flat Earth—Mortals and Immortals     37

4 In the Steps of the Goddess     71

5 Reality, Love and Opposition—Science Fiction     90

6 The Fatal Object—the Secret Books of Paradys     105

7 Folk, Classic and Fairytale     125

8 Works for Children     138

9 Even Angels Are Subject to Corruption     141

10 Entering a More Familiar World     158

11 The Blighted Future     173

12 The Blood Opera;     177

Conclusion     186

An Interview with Tanith Lee     187

Tanith Lee: Biographical Notes     193

Notes     195

Bibliography     211

Index     215

Book Reviews & Awards

“an appreciative critique”—Interzone; “a fine addition to the criticism of an important-but-under-examined author”—Utopian Studies; “Haut has come close to doing the impossible in creating a framework that enhances understanding of Lee’s incredibly wide-ranging and complex use of mythic themes…incorporates a great number of sources, draws many useful parallels, and dips deep beneath the multicolored surface of Lee’s writing…excellent”—Science Fiction Studies; “a fine job”—Science Fiction Chronicle; “valuable reference work for anyone interested in pursuing a deeper understanding of Lee’s fiction…exhaustive identification of source material…tantalizing comments”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.