Colin Manlove

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Colin Nicholas Manlove (born 1942) is a literary critic with a particular interest in fantasy. Modern Fantasy: Five Studies (1975, published as by C. N. Manlove), which considers at length works by Charles Kingsley, George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Mervyn Peake, was written at a time when "no serious study of the subject [of fantasy literature] has appeared".[1] In it he posits a definition of fantasy as:

A fiction evoking wonder and containing a substantial and irreducible element of supernatural or impossible worlds, beings or objects with which the mortal characters in the story or the readers become on at least partly familiar terms.

His conclusion, however, is negative: each of the five major writers whose work he considered failed to sustain their original vision.[2]

He was a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh until his retirement in 1993.[3]


  • Modern Fantasy: Five Studies (1975)
  • Literature and Reality 1600-1800 (1978)
  • The Gap in Shakespeare: The Motif of Division from Richard II to The Tempest (1981)
  • The Impulse of Fantasy Literature (1982)
  • Science Fiction: Ten Explorations (1986)
  • C S Lewis: His Literary Achievement (1987)
  • Critical Thinking: A Guide to Interpreting Literary Texts (1989)
  • Christian Fantasy: From 1200 to the Present (1992)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Patterning of a Fantastic World (1993) - Twayne's Masterwork Studies (#127)
  • Scottish Fantasy Literature: A Critical Survey (1994)
  • The Fantasy Literature of England (1999)
  • From Alice to Harry Potter: Children's Fantasy in England (2003)


  • An Anthology of Scottish Fantasy Literature (1996)


  1. ^ Modern Fantasy: Five Studies, Preface, p. vii
  2. ^ Modern Fantasy: Five Studies, p. 258
  3. ^ Children's literature expert to speak at Sectus 2007