Oxford University Press

  • Myth is oral, collective, sacred, and timeless. Fantasy is a modern literary mode and a popular entertainment. Yet the two have always been inextricably intertwined. Stories about Stories examines fantasy as an arena in which different ways of understanding myth compete and new relationships with myth are worked out. The book offers a comprehensive history of the modern fantastic as well as an argument about its nature and importance. Specific chapters cover the origins of fantasy in the Romantic search for localized myths, fantasy versions of the Modernist turn toward the primitive, the post-Tolkienian exploration of world mythologies, post-colonial reactions to the exploitation of indigenous sacred narratives by Western writers, fantasies based in Christian belief alongside fundamentalist attempts to stamp out the form, and the emergence of ever-more sophisticated structures such as metafiction through which to explore mythic constructions of reality.

  • What is the relationship between religion and multi-player online roleplaying games? Are such games simply a secular distraction from traditional religious practices, or do they in fact offer a different route to the sacred?
    In eGods, a leading scholar in the study of virtual gameworlds takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions of 41 games and arrives at some surprising conclusions. William Sims Bainbridge investigates all aspects of the gameworlds' religious dimensions: the focus on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the gameworlds (and how this relates to cults in the real world); the predominance of polytheism; and, of course, how gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are multiple and immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. Nevertheless, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Examining EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many others, Bainbridge contends that gameworlds offer a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts, simulates many aspects of real life, and provides meaningful narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Indeed, Bainbridge suggests that such games take us back to those ancient nights around the fire, when shadows flickered and it was easy to imagine the monsters conjured by the storyteller lurking in the forest.
    Arguing that gameworlds reintroduce a curvilinear model of early religion, where today as in ancient times faith is inseparable from fantasy, eGods shows how the newest secular technology returns us to the very origins of religion so that we might "arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

  • It's a common belief that the stories we encounter through mass media--whether in video games, action movies, or political comedy skits on Saturday Night Live--are just entertaining fantasies that have no tangible impact on our everyday lives, attitudes, and choices. Not so, says Karen Dill in this lively and provocative book. As much as we may want to deny it, the images, sounds, and narratives that bombard us daily have ample power to alter our realities.
    Dill, the author of the single-most-cited study on the effects of video-game violence, draws on extensive research in social psychology to show not only the myriad ways--for good and ill--that media influence us, but also why we resist believing they do. Vibrantly written and packed with eye-opening examples from everyday life, her wide-ranging analysis encompasses everything from gender and racial stereotyping to social identity, domestic violence, and presidential politics. She discusses the ways that super-thin models and actresses have altered women's self-images, dissects the manipulative strategies of advertising aimed at children and medical consumers, and explains how the "fake news" of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may offer more authentic and incisive coverage than the cable channels and network newscasts. She also assesses the growing importance of "new media" like text-messaging, blogs, and Facebook in how we communicate and process information.
    In a media-saturated society, Dill argues, understanding precisely how these powerful forces affect us and learning how to deal with them are vital to the very way we function as citizens. How Fantasy Becomes Reality shows what we can do to move from the passenger's seat to the driver's seat as media consumers.

  • Myth is oral, collective, sacred, and timeless. Fantasy is a modern literary mode and a popular entertainment. Yet the two have always been inextricably intertwined. Stories about Stories examines fantasy as an arena in which different ways of understanding myth compete and new relationships with myth are worked out. The book offers a comprehensive history of the modern fantastic as well as an argument about its nature and importance. Specific chapters cover the origins of fantasy in the Romantic search for localized myths, fantasy versions of the Modernist turn toward the primitive, the post-Tolkienian exploration of world mythologies, post-colonial reactions to the exploitation of indigenous sacred narratives by Western writers, fantasies based in Christian belief alongside fundamentalist attempts to stamp out the form, and the emergence of ever-more sophisticated structures such as metafiction through which to explore mythic constructions of reality.

  • What is the relationship between religion and multi-player online roleplaying games? Are such games simply a secular distraction from traditional religious practices, or do they in fact offer a different route to the sacred?
    In eGods, a leading scholar in the study of virtual gameworlds takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions of 41 games and arrives at some surprising conclusions. William Sims Bainbridge investigates all aspects of the gameworlds' religious dimensions: the focus on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the gameworlds (and how this relates to cults in the real world); the predominance of polytheism; and, of course, how gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are multiple and immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. Nevertheless, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Examining EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many others, Bainbridge contends that gameworlds offer a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts, simulates many aspects of real life, and provides meaningful narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Indeed, Bainbridge suggests that such games take us back to those ancient nights around the fire, when shadows flickered and it was easy to imagine the monsters conjured by the storyteller lurking in the forest.
    Arguing that gameworlds reintroduce a curvilinear model of early religion, where today as in ancient times faith is inseparable from fantasy, eGods shows how the newest secular technology returns us to the very origins of religion so that we might "arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

  • Fantasies of Flight invigorates the field of personality psychology by challenging the contemporary academic view that individuals are best studied as carriers of traits. Daniel Ogilvie exchanges a heart-to-heart, case study approach to understanding human behavior for the current strategies of categorizing and comparing individuals according to their manifest traits. Ogilvie asks and endeavors to answer questions like What were the psychological conditions that led Sir James Barrie to create a character named Peter Pan? and What were the dynamics behind the Marshall Herff Applewhite's conviction that a space ship, hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet, would rescue him and his Heaven's Gate followers after they enacted a mass suicide pact in 1997? Answering these questions requires him to resurrect old ways to think about personality and old strategies for studying individuals one by one.
    Early in the book, Ogilvie reviews the history of why intensive case studies were discredited in psychology and describes how Sigmund Freud's psychobiographical account of Leonardo da Vinci's fascination with flight inadvertently abetted critics of psychoanalytic psychology. He then performs a partial psychobiography of James Barrie and the origins of Peter Pan, followed by an investigation of Carl Jung, who fashioned the collective unconscious to serve as humankind's link to eternity. Arguing that personality psychology needs to become less insular, Ogilvie integrates information from the disciplines of developmental psychology and neuroscience into a theory regarding the latent needs that both Barrie and Jung sought to satisfy. The theory, including its emphasis on the onset of self and consciousness, is then applied to an array of well-known and obscure individuals with ascensionistic inclinations. Well written and accessible, but complex and scholarly, this volume will restore interest in the investigation of people's inner lives.

  • It's a common belief that the stories we encounter through mass media--whether in video games, action movies, or political comedy skits on Saturday Night Live--are just entertaining fantasies that have no tangible impact on our everyday lives, attitudes, and choices. Not so, says Karen Dill in this lively and provocative book. As much as we may want to deny it, the images, sounds, and narratives that bombard us daily have ample power to alter our realities.
    Dill, the author of the single-most-cited study on the effects of video-game violence, draws on extensive research in social psychology to show not only the myriad ways--for good and ill--that media influence us, but also why we resist believing they do. Vibrantly written and packed with eye-opening examples from everyday life, her wide-ranging analysis encompasses everything from gender and racial stereotyping to social identity, domestic violence, and presidential politics. She discusses the ways that super-thin models and actresses have altered women's self-images, dissects the manipulative strategies of advertising aimed at children and medical consumers, and explains how the "fake news" of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may offer more authentic and incisive coverage than the cable channels and network newscasts. She also assesses the growing importance of "new media" like text-messaging, blogs, and Facebook in how we communicate and process information.
    In a media-saturated society, Dill argues, understanding precisely how these powerful forces affect us and learning how to deal with them are vital to the very way we function as citizens. How Fantasy Becomes Reality shows what we can do to move from the passenger's seat to the driver's seat as media consumers.

  • From smartphones to social media, from streaming videos to fitness bands, our devices bring us information and entertainment all day long, forming an intimate part of our lives. Their ubiquity represents a major shift in human experience, and although we often hold our devices dear, we do not always fully appreciate how their nearly constant presence can influence our lives for better and for worse. In this second edition of How Fantasy Becomes Reality, social psychologist Karen E. Dill-Shackleford explains what the latest science tells us about how our devices influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In engaging, conversational prose, she discusses both the benefits and the risks that come with our current level of media saturation. The wide-ranging conversation explores Avatar, Mad Men, Grand Theft Auto, and Comic Con to address critical issues such as media violence, portrayals of social groups, political coverage, and fandom. Her conclusions will empower readers to make our favorite sources of entertainment and information work for us and not against us.

  • From smartphones to social media, from streaming videos to fitness bands, our devices bring us information and entertainment all day long, forming an intimate part of our lives. Their ubiquity represents a major shift in human experience, and although we often hold our devices dear, we do not always fully appreciate how their nearly constant presence can influence our lives for better and for worse. In this second edition of How Fantasy Becomes Reality, social psychologist Karen E. Dill-Shackleford explains what the latest science tells us about how our devices influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In engaging, conversational prose, she discusses both the benefits and the risks that come with our current level of media saturation. The wide-ranging conversation explores Avatar, Mad Men, Grand Theft Auto, and Comic Con to address critical issues such as media violence, portrayals of social groups, political coverage, and fandom. Her conclusions will empower readers to make our favorite sources of entertainment and information work for us and not against us.

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