Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Morris, Jean

(1924-    ) UK writer who began her career with Man and Two Gods (1953), some plays and a series of detective novels as by Kenneth O'Hara, starting with A View to a Death (1958). As JM she began publishing YA fantasy novels with The Path of the Dragons (1980), which remains her best-known. Set in a richly conceived, technologically advanced Atlantis, it depicts – with a complexity reminiscent of the work of Ursula K Le Guin – the relation of the Atlantids to the Dragons who plough the skies, wise and inscrutable; and to the activities of men and gods in the throes of enacting – perhaps for the first time – the Myths which underlie the Greek Pantheon. Twist of Eight (coll 1981) contains Revisionist Fantasies, including examinations of Cinderella and "True Thomas". The Donkey's Crusade (1983), set in the ostensibly Christianized context of a monkish Quest for Prester John, transforms the Ass into a wise Companion who is both Talking Animal and savant, and who guides the humans in his care into the Land of Fable of the East. In The Troy Game (1987) a young man is sent on a quest by a Magus named Mennor (he resembles Merlin) which ends – after a Wild-Hunt episode – in a mysterious Edifice in the heart of the "troy maze" (see Labyrinth); the protagonist's Rite of Passage into wisdom is cogently presented. JM remains a central crafter of tales for her demanding market. [JC]

other works: Song Under the Water (1985); The Paper Canoe (1988); A New Magic (1990) and its sequel, A New Calling (1992).

Margaret Jean Morris


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.