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JRR Tolkien and Susan Cooper; CS Lewis and Diana Wynne Jones. Oxford will always be associated with the greats of fantasy writing – and now the genre is being placed centre stage, courtesy of a new University-run summer school that will allow members of the public to explore this often-overlooked branch of literature.
Titled 'Here Be Dragons', the summer school will run from 11-13 September and is also aimed at prospective Oxford students with an interest in the fantasy genre.
Academics from Oxford's Faculty of English and invited speakers will present a series of talks on the history of fantasy literature, the major writers, and cross-cutting themes.
Organiser Dr Stuart Lee, from Oxford's Faculty of English, said: 'Oxford is the natural home for a summer school on fantasy literature. Many of the great British writers taught or studied here, and the English Faculty is building up an international research profile in the genre.
'If you are interested in fantasy literature – where it came from, what inspired the major writers, how to study it – then this is the school for you.'
The summer school coincides with a major free exhibition running throughout the summer at the Bodleian Libraries, titled Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.
The exhibition explores Tolkien's legacy, from his genius as an artist, poet, linguist and author to his academic career and private life. Visitors will be taken on a journey through Tolkien's most famous works, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, encountering an array of draft manuscripts, striking illustrations and maps drawn for his publications. Objects on display include Tolkien's early abstract paintings, the touching tales he wrote for his children, rare objects that belonged to Tolkien, exclusive fan mail, and private letters.
The exhibition runs from 1 June to 28 October.