"Four British Fantasists explores the work of four of the most successful and influential of the generation of fantasy writers who rose to prominence in the "second Golden Age" of children's literature in Britain: Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Penelope Lively. Drawing on history, archeology, social geography, anthropology, postcolonial theory, and literary criticism, Charles Butler provides a series of new perspectives through which to view these writers' achievements. He begins by highlighting points of biographic coincidence (e.g., all four authors were children during WWII, all were born within a year or two of one another, and all attended Oxford University in the early 1950s - when C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were publishing their seminal fantasies) and questions whether these factors played a significant role in the development of their writing. Butler then uses this question as the springboard for a case study in the assessment of biographical and literary influences." "The book also considers the role played by Britain itself in determining the shape and preoccupations of these writers' fiction. Britain is a land with a long history in which contemporary life is constantly juxtaposed with evidence of the past in the form of ancient buildings, historic sites, and archeological remains. By placing the work of Cooper, Garner, Jones, and Lively in the context of British culture and of their own time, Butler provides a key to their fascination with history, mythology, and magic, and to the ways in which that fascination has found expression in their fiction. Students of children's literature and of fantasy literature as well as readers who are interested in the lives of these four subject authors will find this an insightful read."--BOOK JACKET.