Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: the Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature

Friday Nov 03   01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (1 hour)
[Texas BallRm A]
English language fantasy literature traditionally draws heavily on European history, mythology and folklore. Many contemporary writers have worked to integrate the myths and literatures of non-European cultures and other underrepresented groups. But little attention has been given to the strong and persistent threads of American folklore running through our fantastic literature -- and how antebellum tales of frontier women, backwoodsmen, Yankee peddlers, myriad American tricksters and other popular archetypes inform contemporary fantasy narratives by North Americans. Some historical people lend themselves to becoming fantasy characters more than others. We can imagine Abe Lincoln killing vampires, JFK surviving to help Elvis fight mummies, even Davy Crockett riding on a comet (a popular folk tale in the mid 1800s). What are the qualities which make such a hero so compelling in the transition between reality and fantasy?

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