Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Patrick Spedding


The unit is designed to introduce students to the origins of modern high fantasy via a range of major English texts selected to illustrate the range and popularity of fantastic literature from the late Medieval to the late-Modern period. The course will begin with a selection of verse and drama that develop elaborate mythological (Classical and British) and supernatural machinery. The middle section will consider imaginary voyages (such as Gulliver's Travels and Rassalas) and texts representing an idealised and imagined past, which appeared in the eighteenth century. The final section will consider heroic romance and adventure, nonsense and fairy literature, from before World War I.


Students successfully completing this subject will be able to identify:

  1. key characteristics of fantasy;
  2. the historical development, and the range of historical manifestations, of fantasy;
  3. the literary, social and cultural roots, and the impact, of fantasy;
  4. key critical debates concerning a range of fantasy genres;
  5. the relevance of these debates to the course-texts as well as to modern works of high fantasy.

Students successfully completing this subject will also be able to:
  1. argue their interpretations clearly and persuasively in oral and essay form;
  2. communicate fruitfully in discussion;
  3. demonstrate skill in identifying and using a range of original texts, scholarly editions and digital archives.


1st essay (1350 words): 30%
2nd essay (2025 words): 45%
Test (1 hour, 675 words): 15%
Tutorial participation (450 words): 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Patrick Spedding

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Comparative literature and cultural studies
Literary studies (Literatures in English)


A first year sequence in English