Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Attebery, Brian

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(1951-    ) US academic and writer whose first analysis of Fantasy, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature from Irving to Le Guin (1980), is a sharply intelligent survey of the slow development of the form in the USA until the Frontier closed, the American Dream turned back on itself, and L Frank Baum created, in Oz, the first livable US Otherworld. In Strategies of Fantasy (1992) BA suggests a description of fantasy central to some of the strategies employed in this encyclopedia. By describing fantasy as a "fuzzy set" – i.e., a grouping defined not by boundaries but by central examples – he identifies a significant difference between fantasy and sf. Sf can be treated as a field with boundaries, but fantasy moves outwards from its central examples into Water Margins where clear boundaries do not exist. The critical acumen displayed in the book – both theoretically and in practical readings of authors like John Crowley and J R R Tolkien – is very considerable. BA was given a Distinguished Scholarship Award at the 1991 International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (see International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts). [JC]

Brian Leonard Attebery


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.