By Elinor Keck, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Matthew Oliver, professor of English at Campbellsville University, will discuss his new book “Magic Words, Magic Worlds: Form and Style in Epic Fantasy” at 4 p.m., Monday, February 27, at the Bright-Redmon Commons in the Montgomery Library, 116 University Drive, Campbellsville.
Since 2009, Oliver has served at Campbellsville University, specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature (primarily British). He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Evangel University in 2000, his Master of Arts from Missouri State University in 2003 and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009.
This is Oliver’s first full book after he wrote numerous academic journal articles.
The idea for the book was born while Oliver was attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA), a conference he attends every year. While writing a paper to present at the conference, he realized his papers revolved around similar concerns.
Oliver said he decided to write a book because he had too much information for a single journal article, and he wanted to get his research in front of as wide an audience as possible.
“The book is about writing style in epic fantasy novels,” Oliver said. “I’m particularly looking at common ways that fantasy writers use language (syntax, perspective, narrative structure) and considering what the implications are of various ways of using language.”
Oliver continued: “A lot of research about fantasy focuses more on psychology or theme, while a lot of research about mainstream literature focuses on form—how texts are constructed and not just what they say. I simply asked myself what would happen if I read fantasy novels the same way we usually read Shakespeare.”
About publishing his first book, Oliver said it felt natural because he’s been writing for such a long time, but “it certainly was a jolt when I opened up a package on my porch and found a pile of books with my name on it.”
“Magic Words, Magic Worlds; Form and Style in Epic Fantasy” was published by McFarland last summer. The book is available for purchase through Amazon, McFarland’s website, and electronically on Kindle.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.