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Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Forms of Death in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea, and Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Novels
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'As soon as fantasy writers make factual statements about the nature of their fictional worlds, limits come into play. If this is a world ruled by one omnipotent deity, it is going to be tricky to introduce the Greek gods later on; if magic works by a certain set of rules, it cannot work by conflicting rules without the need for justification; if ghosts exist, some explanation will be required when the narrator asserts that no-one comes back from the dead. This paper explores and evaluates ways in which three contemporary fantasy writers set up and dissolve such limits with regard to the after life. Each of these writers has produced an extended, multi-volume fantasy opus amply establishing rules and limits for its fictional world or worlds: Ursula Le Guin in her six-volume Earthsea series, Philip Pullman in his trilogy, His Dark Materials, and Garth Nix in his Old Kingdom series of novels (four volumes to date). Each of these writers sets up what I shall term a ‘first death’ and a ‘second death’; the second death is presented in their fictions as a final stage of being while the first death, although it may initially seem permanent, turns out to be transitional. Each of these fictions ultimately dissolves the limits that seem to have been set up in the first death, but their strategies of release are arguably not always as liberatory as claimed.' (Introduction)

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Last amended 25 Jul 2018 12:54:36
92-104 Forms of Death in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea, and Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Novelssmall AustLit logo Literature and Aesthetics
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