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Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury


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About the Author

William F. Touponce is emeritus professor of English at Indiana University at Indianapolis. Former director (2007-2011) of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, he is coauthor of Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction (2004).


Touponce examines each of his subjects' body of work as a critique of scientific, capitalistic modernity. He takes a broadly Marxist approach but draws on an eclectic mix of literary theorists, including Northrop Frye, Walter Benjamin, and Mikhail Bakhtin. Touponce associates the aesthetics of Dunsany, Lovecraft, and Bradbury with three different 'moods' of modernity identified by Benjamin: beauty, shock, and nostalgia, respectively. His explications of Dunsany's and Lovecraft's artistic rejections of modernity are particularly persuasive and perceptive. This book is one of the best critical works on Lovecraft in particular that this reviewer has encountered. . . .The discussion of Bradbury's corpus is briefer than discussions of the other two writers, but equally interesting and sensitive. This fascinating book has much to teach about the power of fantastic fiction to express the shocks and horrors of modernity. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. * CHOICE *
Touponce's drawing on theory (mostly from literary criticism) generally works very well to illuminate his topics ... [H]is use of ... Walter Benjamin to examine Dunsany, or Bakhtin and Bernstein to understand Bradbury, works well at giving his readers valuable perspectives on their work. His consideration of Dunsany is arguably the most valuable chapter of the book, both because there is so little critical writing on Dunsany and because of its elegance and clarity. This book should certainly be of interest to anyone interested in Dunsany, Lovecraft, or Bradbury, or in the development of fantastic literature in reaction to modernism. It would make an excellent acquisition for libraries. * Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts *

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