A critical rhetorical essay authored by Dr. John Perlich, a professor of communication studies at Hastings College, will be included in the next volume of Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC).
The essay, “Rethinking the Monomyth: Pan’s Labyrinth and the Face of a New Hero(ine),” deconstructs the work of acclaimed writer and director Guillermo del Toro. Perlich explores the implications of del Toro’s work within the context of self-concept and identity.
Set in the post-Civil War Spanish countryside, Pan’s Labyrinth relates the tale of a most unusual heroine, Ofelia. Perlich said the unusual form of the heroine was important for the filmmakers because as del Toro explains, “children have [a] perfect personality and then we ruin it with our intelligent decisions to educate them.” In del Toro’s words, the film is about choice and disobedience; it is about the definition of self; more specifically it is about “a girl giving birth to herself the way that she wanted to be.”
“Using intentional juxtaposition of tensions—the violence of our mundane world with the magic and tranquility of fantasy—Pan’s Labyrinth both follows and rejects/redefines the master narrative of the hero’s tale,” Perlich said.
Authors are selected for inclusion in CLC for a variety of reasons, including the publication or production of a critically acclaimed new work, the reception of a major literary award, revival of interest in past writings or the adaptation of a literary work to film or television.
Named “one of the 25 most distinguished reference titles published during the past 25 years,” by Reference Quarterly, the CLC series provides readers with critical commentary and general information on authors from 91 countries. Each CLC volume contains individual essays and reviews selected from hundreds of review periodicals, general magazines, scholarly journals, monographs and books. Entries include critical evaluations spanning an author’s career from its inception to current commentary.
CLC, produced by Layman Poupard Publishing, fulfills an essential need, particularly since the complexity and variety of contemporary literature makes the function of criticism necessary to today’s readers.
The essay was originally published in the anthology Millennial Mythmaking: Essays on the Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Films and Games, which is available from McFarland Publishers.
Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review. For more, go to hastings.edu.