DELVING INTO URBAN MYTHS: THE WORKS OF CHARLES DE LINT
With over seventy titles to his name and new ones in the making, Charles de Lint is among the most prolific writers of Canadian speculative fiction and a key representative of urban fantasy/mythic fiction. Given his vast literary output, several awards (including the World Fantasy Award in 2000 and the Aurora Award in 2013 and again in 2015), and a large gathering of devoted readers (if Facebook profiles such as “The Mythic Café, with Charles de Lint & Company” are any indication), it is more than surprising that his fiction has yet to become the subject of a full-length academic study. That is not to say, of course, that the academia is unaware of de Lint’s presence. The writer is briefly discussed in David Ketterer’s Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (1992), and receives some attention in Douglas Ivison’s Canadian Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers (2002) as well as in Stefan Ekman’s Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings (2013). There is also a number of individual essays published in scholarly journals and edited collections, which focus on various aspects of de Lint’s works, e.g., Laurence Steven’s “Welwyn Wilton Katz and Charles de Lint: New Fantasy as a Canadian Post-colonial Genre” (Worlds of Wonder, 2004), Christine Mains’ “Old World, New World, Otherworld: Celtic and Native American Influences in Charles de Lint’s Moonheart and Forests of the Heart” (Extrapolation, 2005), Terri Doughty’s “Dreaming into Being: Liminal Spaces in Charles de Lint’s Young Adult Mythic Fiction” (Knowing Their Place? Identity and Space in Children’s Literature, 2011), Brent A. Stypczynski’s “De Lint’s Canines” (The Modern Literary Werewolf, 2013), Weronika Łaszkiewicz’ “From Stereotypes to Sovereignty: Indigenous Peoples in the Works of Charles de Lint” (Studies in Canadian Literature, 2018), and Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun’s “Remembering the Romance: Medievalist Romance in Fantasy Fiction by Guy Gavriel Kay and Charles de Lint” (Medievalism in English Canadian Literature, 2020) to name a few. However, the lack of a full-length study devoted to de Lint alone seems a glaring omission, perhaps caused by the writer’s staggering literary output which might seem too daunting of a task for a single scholar.
Thus, we invite scholars and readers of Charles de Lint’s fiction to submit their contribution to what is intended as the first comprehensive (though surely not exhaustive) book-length study of his works, published by a reputable academic publisher. Submissions might focus on, but are not limited to, one of the following topics:
- Charles de Lint’s position within the field of Canadian speculative fiction and urban fantasy fiction, as well as his contribution to their development;
- his perception of the city and its aliments as exemplified by the portrayal of Ottawa, Newford, Santo del Vado Viejo, and other—both real and fantastic—urban spaces;
- his conflation of the real and the fantastic within the urban space, including his theory of “consensus reality”;
- his approach to socio-political problems, including violence, abuse, and trauma, illegal immigration as well as the fate of social outcasts and the underprivileged members of the society;
- his depiction and understanding of female empowerment;
- his depiction of artists, artistic inspiration, and the meaning of art;
- his depiction of (fictional) Native American tribes and ethnic communities, including the question of cultural appropriation;
- his depiction of animals and human-animal hybrid characters as vital members of the modern society;
- his approach to religion and spirituality, including his criticism of institutional religion and emphasis on the divine hidden in the natural world/wilderness;
- his inspirations, including the medieval and Gothic tradition as well as borrowings from different mythologies (e.g., Welsh, Celtic, Native American, etc.) to develop an original mythological system (the Otherworld and the Animal People);
- his advice for the contemporary world in the face of the anthropocentric crisis;
- a juxtaposition of his early and more recent works, including his children’s books;
- a juxtaposition of his work with that of other Canadian fantasists or prominent writers of urban fantasy.
Contributors are welcome to focus on a single text or deliver a cross-sectional study of a selection of de Lint’s works. We welcome contributions from scholars of all backgrounds, disciplines, and career stages.
The deadline for abstracts is 30 April 2021
The deadline for full articles (5000-8000 words, MLA style) is 30 November 2021
Weronika Łaszkiewicz, PhD
University of Białystok, Poland
Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun, PhD
University of Białystok, Poland
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