CFP: Essays on the Female Hero in Modern Fantasy
Monday, April 22, 2013
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
This study aims to provide a multi-faceted and thorough look at an
important character type in fantasy that only begins to demonstrate real
empowerment in the latter twentieth century. Authors will explore the nuances and
implications of female heroism with a goal to contribute to the further
evolution of the character type as well as to the critical study of fantasy. A major concern of this work will be the
notion of power itself, as it is claimed or used by the female hero, as well as
in how it is represented by and around her, and the ways in which her stories
reflect contemporary notions of power/powerlessness for women, men, and society in general both within and
outside the text.
This collection defines "modern fantasy” to include
a variety of subcategories, including fairy tale, dark fantasy, science
fantasy, children’s literature, high and low fantasy, and magical realism. Likewise, "hero” has myriad meanings; we will
work from a broad understanding of one who is not simply a protagonist but who
risks her own well-being to benefit the greater good.
The book will be divided into sections each focusing
on a type of female hero. These topics
may be adjusted depending upon the essays that are accepted for publication.
Empowered Women of Medieval Romance and Fairy Tale
This first grouping of
essays creates a foundation for the rest of the book by focusing on characters
who demonstrate degrees of heroism in their efforts to defy certain female
stereotypes in medieval romance and fairy tale, the predecessors to modern
fantasy. The concluding chapter of this
section will focus on J.R.R. Tolkien, who in addition to being a scholar and
fan of these earlier genres, is commonly viewed as the primary architect of
modern fantasy in his publication of The
Lord of the Rings in 1954.
Overachievers: Unlikely Female Heroes
This section of essays
will discuss the unlikely female hero, her efforts toward overcoming her un-likeliness;
and the relation between these efforts and those of real-world women and girls
to turn oppression into power.
Stealers: Female Sidekicks
This section focuses on
those female helper characters who become heroes in their own right, often
overshadowing her male counterparts in the process.
Do-gooders: Female Villains and
Villainy connotes a form
of power and provides an important site of exploration for fully positioning
the female hero in modern fantasy. The
essays in this section might explore various power imbalances in society that
turn good to evil, thus exposing a heroic underside to the female villain. Such characters often end up acting heroically
despite their evil intentions.
Possible topics could cover texts by authors
including but not limited to:
Diana Wynne Jones
Ursula Le Guin
George R.R. Martin
2-page proposal (or a full-length essay if available) and a short biography to
Dr. Lori Campbell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Queries
are welcome at the same address. The
deadline for submissions is May 10, 2013.
submissions must be original and previously unpublished. Please note that being invited to submit a
full essay on the basis of the proposal does not guarantee inclusion in the
final publication. Based on the
proposals, selected contributor candidates will be requested to submit their
full-length essays of 6,000-12,000 words in MLA format. All final decisions regarding publication will
be made on the merit of the full-length essays.
proposal is selected, your complete essay will be due by August 1, 2013.
About the Editor:
Dr. Lori M. Campbell is
a lecturer in the Department of English and Film Studies Program at University
of Pittsburgh, specializing in fantasy, myth and folktale, children's
literature, and the gothic. Her book, Portals of Power: Magical
Agency and Transformation in Literary Fantasy, was published by McFarland
and Company in 2010. Her other publications include articles on J.R.R.
Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Frances Hodgson Burnett, J.M. Barrie, Thomas Hardy, and William
Morris, as well as introductions to new Barnes and Noble editions of classic
works by J.M. Barrie, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the Brothers Grimm.