Towards or Back to Human Values? Spiritual and Moral Dimension of Contemporary Fantasy

Marek C Oziewicz, Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Towards or Back to Human Values is a pioneering and the first of its kind collection of nineteen essays that explore the ways in which literature offers moral and spiritual guidance by appealing to imaginary and imaginative constructs. Authored by some of the key European, Australian, and US scholars, essays are divided into four sections. The first one, “Theorizing Fantasy Through Mapping its Spiritual Territory,” examines the way in which considerations of spirituality and human values in fantasy, as well as the ethical world views that they entail, may be contained in literary-critical discourse. Section two, “Fantasy on the Role of Imagination in Human Life,” explores the imaginative function of fantasy. The third section, “Fantasy as Asserting Interconnectedness of All Life, Stressing the Need for Cooperation and Fostering Environmental Awareness,” looks at the ways in which fantasy draws together diverse communities and builds respect for the environment. The last section, “Fantasy as Exploring Human Experience in the Context of Life and Death, Chaos and Order, Rationality and Intuition, Fate and Free Will, the Real and the Imaginary,” considers how writers for children use fantasy to explore these aspects of human experience. The collection questions secular education’s separation of issues of spirituality from education, arguing that the current popularity of fantasy demonstrates people’s need for literature that engages with the peculiarly human traits of ethical awareness and spiritual curiosity. The authors argue that fantasy explores, in complex and extended thought-experiments, what it means to be a human being and what constitutes the essence of our humanity. Both of these issues are shown as highly relevant at a time when life in Western cultures is almost universally experienced as a rapid flux of changing identities, upgradeable technologies, and personal challenges to reinvent oneself in response to the needs of the market.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNewcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK
PublisherCambridge Scholars Press
ISBN (Print)1904303730
StatePublished - 2006

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