UPDATE: The Female Hero in Modern Fantasy Edited Collection -- Call for Chapters
UPDATE: I have received many innovative proposals so far, but several key authors I would like to see included remain unclaimed, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, J.K. Rowling, Madeleine L'Engle, Ursula Le Guin, Terry Pratchett, and Suzanne Collins, among a few others. Also please note that depending on the submissions, I may expand the "Pathfinders" section to include Victorian fantasy (i.e., George MacDonald, William Morris, etc.) as an additional precursor to modern fantasy. There is also a strong possibility I will add a new section for "Fantasy on Film." If you have an interest in any of these categories, or those below (see full CFP), please contact me at the email address provided.
Call for Chapters
I invite proposals for a collection of essays exploring the female hero as a distinct character type in modern fantasy, covering works published from the 1950s through the present, starting with J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Although this study will focus on literature and film adaptations, interdisciplinary approaches are welcome and encouraged.
This collection, tentatively titled, A Quest of Her Own: The Female Hero in Modern Fantasy, is under contract with McFarland and Company with publication scheduled for summer 2014.
This study aims to provide a multifaceted look at an important character type in fantasy that only begins to demonstrate real empowerment in the latter twentieth century. Authors will explore the nuances and implications of female heroism with a goal to contribute to the further evolution of the character type as well as to the critical study of fantasy. A major concern of this work will be the notion of power itself, as it is claimed or used by the female hero, as well as in how it is represented by and around her, and the ways in which her stories reflect contemporary notions of power/powerlessness for women, men, and society in general both within and outside the text.
This collection defines "modern fantasy" to include a variety of subcategories, including fairy tale, dark fantasy, science fantasy, children's literature, high and low fantasy, and magical realism. Likewise, "hero" has myriad meanings; we will work from a broad understanding of one who is not simply a protagonist but who risks her own well-being to benefit the greater good.
The book will be divided into sections each focusing on a type of female hero. These topics may be adjusted depending upon the essays that are accepted for publication.
I. Pathfinders: Empowered Women of Medieval Romance and
[This section may be expanded to include Victorian Fantasy depending on the submissions received, so if you have an idea in that direction, feel free to submit or query.]
This first grouping of essays creates a foundation for the rest of the book by focusing on characters who demonstrate degrees of heroism in their efforts to defy certain female stereotypes in medieval romance and fairy tale, the predecessors to modern fantasy. The concluding chapter of this section will focus on J.R.R. Tolkien, who in addition to being a scholar and fan of these earlier genres, is commonly viewed as the primary architect of modern fantasy in his publication of The Lord of the Rings in 1954.
II. Underestimated Overachievers: Unlikely Female Heroes
This section of essays will discuss the unlikely female hero, her efforts toward overcoming her un-likeliness; and the relation between these efforts and those of real-world women and girls to turn oppression into power.
III. Show Stealers: Female Sidekicks
This section focuses on those female helper characters who become heroes in their own right, often overshadowing her male counterparts in the process.
IV. Unwilling Do-gooders: Female Villains and Villain-Heroes
Villainy connotes a form of power and provides an important site of exploration for fully positioning the female hero in modern fantasy. The essays in this section might explore various power imbalances in society that turn good to evil, thus exposing a heroic underside to the female villain. Such characters often end up acting heroically despite their evil intentions.
Possible topics could cover texts by authors including but not limited to:
Diana Wynne Jones
Ursula Le Guin
George R.R. Martin
Submit a 2-page proposal (or a full-length essay if available) and a short biography to Dr. Lori Campbell via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Queries are welcome at the same address.
The deadline for submissions is May 10, 2013.
All submissions must be original and previously unpublished. Please note that being invited to submit a full essay on the basis of the proposal does not guarantee inclusion in the final publication. Based on the proposals, selected contributor candidates will be requested to submit their full-length essays of 6,000-12,000 words in MLA format. All final decisions regarding publication will be made on the merit of the full-length essays.
If your proposal is selected, your complete essay will be due by August 1, 2013.
About the Editor:
Dr. Lori M. Campbell is a lecturer in the Department of English and Film Studies Program at University of Pittsburgh, specializing in fantasy, myth and folktale, children's literature, and the gothic. Her book, Portals of Power: Magical Agency and Transformation in Literary Fantasy, was published by McFarland in 2010. Her other publications include articles on J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Frances Hodgson Burnett, J.M. Barrie, Thomas Hardy, and William Morris, as well as introductions to new Barnes and Noble editions of classic works by J.M. Barrie, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and the Brothers Grimm.