Friday, February 13, 2015

Capstone Presentation Defends the Genre of Fantasy

News brief by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, students, faculty, and staff of Mount Angel Seminary gathered in the Library Auditorium for Paul Grandi’s Capstone presentation.

Paul Grandi beginning his Capstone presentation.
Credit: Phillip J. Shifflet

Dr. Creighton Lindsay, who was Grandi’s director, said in his introduction that if there were a Guinness Book of World Records at MAS, Paul Grandi would certainly receive the award for the earliest Capstone presentation.

Grandi’s Capstone project is entitled: “The Tales that Really Matter: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Legitimacy and Importance of the Genre of Fantasy.”

In his presentation, Grandi offered a captivating explanation of Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories,” in which Tolkien argues that fantasy has three main functions: it can provide escape, it can help the reader recover transcendental truths, and it can provide consolation and ultimately instill the virtue of hope in the reader.

The thesis of his project is: “J.R.R. Tolkien’s theoretical framework, laid out in his essay ‘On Fairy Stories’ and applied in his epic The Lord of the Rings, shows how fantasy, through its characteristic and creative dissimilarity to the primary world, is a genre uniquely and especially suited to lead its readers to a recovery of joy and thus has the potential to spread a message of hope.”

Grandi’s Capstone project will be available at the end of the semester through the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

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