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  #1  
Old 03-12-2013, 09:02 PM
Scotthew Scotthew is offline
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Question Seeking Research Material

Hey all! First time poster; long time lurker. I was hoping to tap your collective knowledge for a paper I'm writing.

As part of my English 102 course, I have chosen to focus my research project on the influences, recurring themes, and origins of contemporary fantasy literature with a specific look at The Wheel of Time. The most challenging aspect of my research is finding academic material to reference. For example Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces should prove very useful; Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" as well. Do you know of anything specific to WoT?

I have been reading The Wheel of Time for half my life, and now that it's finished it was the one thing that came to mind as I picked a subject for research. I find the character parallels particularly fascinating (e.g. Matrim vs. Odin). My proposal is available here, if that interests you at all.

Any journals, essays, books, or really anything credible you think might be useful for my research, I'd be very grateful. Thanks Theoryland!
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:03 PM
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Weird Harold Weird Harold is offline
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The most challenging aspect of my research is finding academic material to reference. For example Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces should prove very useful; Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" as well. Do you know of anything specific to WoT?
You might want to add The Rivan Codex by David Eddings; it contains a fairly complete analysis of writing an epic fantasy.

I don't know of any academic analysis specific to the WOT.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:08 AM
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You might want to check and see if Michael Livingston (The Citadel) has actually published anything WoT-related. (You could also email him.) Beyond that, check out the fan resources linked in my sig, particularly 13th Depository and the Interview Database (the 'wot influences' tag might be particularly useful).
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotthew View Post
Hey all! First time poster; long time lurker. I was hoping to tap your collective knowledge for a paper I'm writing.

As part of my English 102 course, I have chosen to focus my research project on the influences, recurring themes, and origins of contemporary fantasy literature with a specific look at The Wheel of Time. The most challenging aspect of my research is finding academic material to reference. For example Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces should prove very useful; Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" as well. Do you know of anything specific to WoT?

I have been reading The Wheel of Time for half my life, and now that it's finished it was the one thing that came to mind as I picked a subject for research. I find the character parallels particularly fascinating (e.g. Matrim vs. Odin). My proposal is available here, if that interests you at all.

Any journals, essays, books, or really anything credible you think might be useful for my research, I'd be very grateful. Thanks Theoryland!
David Eddings wrote an essay on the "15 tropes of modern fantasy" in which he outlined plot and character development for a fantasy story.

When you read it you'll see how eerily close he is to hitting most fantasy on the head. He also talks about how he specifically tried to use all 15 in the Belgariad. Quite witty really.

I'm not sure where you'll find it though. I remember it was printed as part of a deluxe set of the books once...
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:15 PM
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Ultimately Jordan dug more in The Masks of God (4 vol) by Joseph Campbell than he did in Hero with a Thousand Faces (not that Hero is irrelevant for all that. Not quite). It's a much harder work than the more general-audience friendly HWATF.

More material on cyclical history and the role of "great men" (a concept akin to ta'veren) can be found in the works of Mircea Eliade.

The classic author on the triads in Celtic and Indo-European culture is Dumézil (a very hard read).

For a good analysis of the motifs behind WOT, a good essay on Arthuriana/the Matter of Britain is a must, I don't have a title to suggest (but one in French) something that covers the role of women in Arthurian myth, and the King as one with the Land is important.

Aside from Arthurian texts, it's always good for WOT to get a copy of Norse myths, Irish Myth and Heroic cycles (Finn McCool stories are very important for Mat) and Japanese mythology.

A good book on European folklore is also very useful.

Beyond that it would probably help to know which book you've picked. I always found the easiest one to analyze was The Shadow Rising, as it's very focused on Celtic stuff (The Fairy Paths for the Ways, the tree sapling as gift, the Bruidhean, the ritual to select Kings, the Wasteland and Fisher King, the Celtic structure of the Aiel.. the septs and clans, the druidic like role of the WO (you can simply drop the Amerindian cultural elements RJ mixed into it), and you can throw in the dealings with underworld creatures with the Finns and again keep focused on the Irish sources only without bothering with all the other sources. And TSR lets you throw in as well the Sword in the Stone stuff, and Arian'Rhod for Lanfear. A lot of great material for an essay in there, and without having to dig in dozens of directions as would be the case with most other WOT books.

Last edited by Dom; 03-14-2013 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:49 PM
Scotthew Scotthew is offline
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Some really great info here guys. Thanks! I'm working on my Annotated Bibliography tonight (hurray procrastination!) or I'd give a more in depth reply.

There's a wealth of great sources out there that allow me to draw connections between WoT and various mythologies and earlier literature. But I'm coming up dry on credible sources that have paved that road before me so to speak. Before I'm done I'll need at least some source that supports my own conclusions, and short of citing fan sites such as this one or the 13th Depository, I'm at a loss. Perhaps I can make an argument that Linda should qualify as a credible authority. I sent and email to Sanderson about my research as well, but he's a busy guy.

Anyways, thanks again guys! It's turning out to be a very interesting, but very difficult topic for a 102 class.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:15 AM
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Before I'm done I'll need at least some source that supports my own conclusions, ...
If you can't find any, then that may of course be an indication that your conclusions are just plain wrong. Not saying they are, but you shouldn't exclude this possibility either.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:55 AM
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...But I'm coming up dry on credible sources that have paved that road before me so to speak. ...
Somebody has to be the first to do a credible, scholarly essay. There are a lot of fan generated information, but you may be the first to do a "credible" -- i.e. peer-reviewed -- essay.

Probably not, but previous essays of the type you need are probably student essays like yours and aren't published.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:44 AM
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EDITED TO ADD: For everyone else, if you haven't read Fionavar Tapestry, and you don't want to have spoilers, DON'T READ THE LINK I PROVIDE it ruins the books with spoilerage!!

Not sure if you have ever read the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy of books by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest Hour published 1984-1986). (again, thanks to Ishara and Powerslave for recommending those books years ago!!)

Kay worked with Tolkien's son on editing some posthumous works (hellllo Silmarillion), which I find interseting when reading his OWN books.

Anywho...there are a few papers out there on Kay's work. Some of the storytelling in his books are echoed by RJ (whose WOT was published in what, 1990?) in the basic premise (3 boys and 2 girl set out on a journey to help save a world, led by a mysterious man (FT) or woman (WOT) with magical powers & his/her well of power ( FT = "source" Matt, WOT = "warder" Lan), the Wild Hunt, Tree of Life, Arthurian Legend, Native American faith, and on and on and on)so the published analysis of Kay might similarly support your ideas--or at least lead you in the right direction for your own research

Here is a place to start (especially the references used):

http://www.brightweavings.com/schola...hinfantasy.htm

but there are more out there if you search. A good place to start is Wikipedia and work your way BACKWARDS in their references (which are actual, vs. the unreliability of Wiki itself).

Good luck! I would be interested to read the final product
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotthew View Post
I'm coming up dry on credible sources that have paved that road before me so to speak.
That's why I recommended the interview database; you can cite RJ directly on many of these things.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:09 AM
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Regarding Arthur, Mallory and La morte d'Arthur is one source, probably the definitive one.

Regarding Fionn mac Cumhaill, ahhh the stories we were told as kids. The Giant's Causeway and all that. Memories...err this aint relevant.

Ok, you should look at Beowulf as a primary source. There's shedloads of academic articles on it. Tolkien loved it.

Also, look for articles on the 'Anglo Saxon Chronicles'. A very difficult book to decipher (how's you Anglo-Saxon anyway?) These small settlements they lived in called steadings...weird. Not all of RJ's references were myths.
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:02 AM
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sorry for pulling this one out of the gutter, but I'm thinking about writing my MA thesis on WOT. So, have any academic analysis of Jordan's WOT shown up yet? Does anyone know? Cheers.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:29 PM
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There are a few things, yes; some theses are in the Rigney collection at Addlestone Library in the College of Charleston; they're isted on the website guide.
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Old 11-25-2017, 05:59 AM
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just fyi, I finished my work on Jordan, and uploaded it to academia.edu --> https://www.academia.edu/35096377/Ro...tic_Phenomenon
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Old 11-25-2017, 06:52 AM
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Interesting, but it will probably take me a while to read it all. If I do read it all. I expect there will be plenty of material for argument there, if nothing else.
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