Dr. Ronald P. Rogers
Support for your body's natural healing capabilities
Click here for details
Click here for information
What's Going On
Columbia Gas Dept.
GAS LEAK or GAS SMELL
24 hrs/ 365 days
270-384-2006 or 9-1-1
Call before you dig
Directory of Churches
phone numbers and more
for churches in Adair County
Find Great Stuff in
Antiques, Help Wanted,
Autos, Real Estate,
Legal Notices, More...
Dr. Matthew Oliver discusses first book
By Elinor Keck
Campbellsville, KY - Dr. Matthew Oliver, associate professor of English at Campbellsville University, discussed his debut book, "Magic Words, Magic Worlds; Form and Style in Epic Fantasy" on February 27, 2023, in the Bright-Redmon Commons of Montgomery Library at Campbellsville University.
Oliver began his presentation by saying, "When I was doing research in the fantastic, I realized that one of the main things people focus on in literature is how it's pieced together. With fantasy, I realized that people focus on larger thematic themes, so I asked myself 'What would happen if I read a fantasy novel like Virginia Woolf?'"
Oliver explained his book is structured in pairs of chapters. The first chapter in each pair focuses on a common stylistic element in fantasy novels, such as elaborate syntax, archaic diction and voluble description, which is associated with empathy. The second chapter in the pair shows counters to those styles, such as simple syntax, minimalist and edited description, which questions empathy as voyeuristic sensationalism.
Oliver read a chapter of his work titled "A Necessary Subtraction: Simplicity, the Violent Emotion of Editing, and the Editing of Violence."
Oliver said the pleasure of reading epic fantasy is often built on depictions of violence and violent emotion, but it is possible to write fantasy in a style that "employs moments of editorial simplicity."
He used Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea "Trilogy" as an example of how to write non-masculine fantasy without writing "feminine" fantasy. One of the ways this was accomplished was through suggesting emotions by describing the situation but avoiding emotional words.
Oliver also took time to answer questions from the audience. In answering the first question, Oliver said much of his inspiration came from attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA) every year. To keep active in the field, he would always prepare a paper to present. Eventually, he realized all of his papers were becoming an interconnected project.
At the time, Oliver said, "I have several chapters of a book that I've really started. Maybe I'll just turn it into a book."
Oliver's book is full of fantasy novel analyses. Rather than going out and reading hundreds of books for research, Oliver said that he started by analyzing ones with which he was already familiar.
"A lot of the best projects start with the reading, and then from the reading you put together what the arguments are," Oliver said. "A lot of the novels in the book are from what I've read before."
Oliver shared the most exciting chapter for him to write was a chapter about wonder.
"Wonder is a cliche about the fantastic, but how do you study or quantify wonder?" Oliver said. "In that chapter I attempt to define stylistic traits of wonder. That was a really interesting chapter to be able to study."
Oliver said the book was dedicated to his daughters, Lucy and Maggie.
Dr. Nathan Gower, associate professor of English, introduced Oliver at the beginning of the event and explained that since Campbellsville University is a liberal arts college, its emphasis is teaching.
"Sometimes the creative work by faculty happens behind the curtain," Gower said. "Maybe we don't recognize that enough and take time to celebrate when that happens. Academia energizes us and informs what we do in the classroom."
Oliver's book was for sale during the event, and Oliver took time to sign his book. His book is also available for purchase at Amazon.
Since 2009, Oliver has served at Campbellsville University, with a specialization in 20th and 21st 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 story was posted on 2023-03-09 08:42:48
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.
More articles from topic Campbellsville University:
Elder is crowned Valentine Pageant Queen at CU
Dr. Matthew Oliver to discuss new book Monday at CU
Wind and Piano ensemble Les Six to play in concert
Rev. Matt Smyzer to speak at Black History Month chapel Feb. 15
O'Neal, Early published in BHHS Journal
Dr. Ming Wang to speak at Campbellsville University
Smith: I'm here because I was pressing on
Dickens inducted into Organization for Associate Degree Nursing
National Civics Bee coming to Campbellsville University
CU to present Worship Focus chapel Feb 1
View even more articles in topic Campbellsville University
Bank of Columbia
The Best of
Local Stories of
The Greatest Generation
Order Book or e-Book
See who's celebrating
Birthdays and Anniversaries
Special Events List
Quick Links to Popular Features
Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on ColumbiaMagazine.com.
Contact us: Columbia Magazine and columbiamagazine.com are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.