Cover image for The American fantasy tradition
The American fantasy tradition
Thomsen, Brian.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tor, 2002.
Physical Description:
604 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.F3 A64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS648.F3 A64 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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From the ancient tales of long-dead civilizations to the wild success of J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, fantasy has fired our imaginations for as long as there has been story. Whether sweeping sagas of fantastic adventures or cautionary tales told around the campfire, fantasy is deeply woven into the very fabric of humanity, wearing many faces and coming in many flavors. But what fantasy is distinctly American? The American Fantasy Tradition sets out to answer this very question. This comprehensive critical anthology of American fantasy literature applies the groundbreaking theorems of such esteemed American literary critics as Leslie Fiedler, Richard Chase, and Irving Howe to the genre of fantasy in an effort to delineate the true American tradition of fantasy from the more prominent Anglo-European canon, breaking it down into three distinctive strains: The American Tale: Folk, Tall, and Weird Stories that might be considered fables or legends, much like the epics of the Age of Heroes from the classical eras of Rome and Greece, or the tales of the fairy folk from the European tradition, or the fables of Aesop. Fantastic Americana Stories set directly within the American historic landscape, much as the Arthurian tradition is set within the confines of British history. Lands of Enchantment in Everyday Life Stories that involve what might be called the American spirit, focusing on worlds that exist in the shadows of our own, just beyond Rod Serling's famous signpost for The Twilight Zone.

Author Notes

Brian M. Thomsen was senior editor/director of SF and fantasy at Warner Books and then director of Books and Periodicals at TSR. Now a consulting editor for Tor Books, he dropped out of pursuing a Ph.D. in English in favor of a career in publishing. The American Fantasy Tradition is the product of twenty-two years of research on his part. He lives in Brooklyn

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The American Fantasy Tradition, edited and with a scholarly introduction by Brian M. Thomsen, offers a wide and judicious selection of creepy tales from Washington Irving to Stephen King. Since this anthology includes authors both canonical (Hawthorne, Twain, James) and contemporary (David Drake, Orson Scott Card, Michael Bishop), it's well suited for the college classroom. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Excert Removed Excerpted from The American Fantasy Tradition All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Washington IrvingNathaniel HawthorneJoel Chandler HarrisEdward O'ReillyLouisa May AlcottRobert W. ChambersH. P. LovecraftManly Wade WellmanDavid DrakeR. A. LaffertyAlan Dean FosterShirley JacksonStephen KingUrsula K. Le GuinHenry JamesMark TwainAmbrose BierceKate ChopinStephen Vincent BenetManly Wade WellmanCharles BeaumontAvram DavidsonHenry KuttnerKarl Edward WagnerW. P. KinsellaOrson Scott CardBradley DentonHarlan EllisonFrank StocktonL. Frank BaumCharlotte Perkins GilmanEdith WhartonTheodore SturgeonJack FinneyRichard MathesonFredric BrownHarlan EllisonRay BradburyGene WolfeGreg BearAlan BrennertStephen KingMichael Bishop
Forewordp. 17
Introduction: An Approach to an American Fantasy Traditionp. 21
Part I Folk, Tall and Weird Tales
Rip Van Winklep. 29
Feathertop: A Moralized Legendp. 41
Uncle Remusp. 54
The Saga of Pecos Billp. 61
Rosy's Journeyp. 66
The Yellow Signp. 73
The Shadow over Innsmouthp. 86
O Ugly Bird!p. 129
The Foolp. 140
Narrow Valleyp. 165
Jackalopep. 175
The Lotteryp. 187
Children of the Cornp. 194
Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonightp. 214
Part II Fantastic Americana
The Jolly Cornerp. 237
A Ghost Storyp. 260
The Other Lodgersp. 265
Ma'ame Pelagiep. 267
The Devil and Daniel Websterp. 273
The Valley Was Stillp. 283
The Howling Manp. 293
Twenty-Threep. 304
We Are the Deadp. 313
Where the Summer Endsp. 317
Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowap. 337
Hatrack Riverp. 347
The Hero of the Nightp. 366
The Whimper of Whipped Dogsp. 376
Part III Lands of Enchantment and Everyday Life
The Griffin and the Minor Canonp. 391
The Enchanted Buffalop. 401
The Yellow Wallpaperp. 407
The Moving Fingerp. 419
Slow Sculpturep. 430
The Coin Collectorp. 445
Preyp. 455
The Geezenstacksp. 464
Paladin of the Lost Hourp. 471
The Black Ferrisp. 487
Bed & Breakfastp. 493
Dead Runp. 509
Her Pilgrim Soulp. 527
Mrs. Todd's Shortcutp. 556
Among the Handlersp. 574
Select Critical Bibliographyp. 603