Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in English



First Advisor

J. Jennifer Jones


To Scale Dragons comprises two essays on fantasy and a fantasy manuscript, which together form a critical-creative study of fantasy as a cross-media genre of art. In the first essay, “Fantasy as Hypernatural Art: A Look at the Genre’s Chthulucentric Coalescence,” I provide a theoretical foundation for fantasy as art, looking to key developments in the history of fantasy and fantasy criticism to propose a new set of core properties for fantasy as a fuzzy set, à la Brian Attebery, and defend an understanding of fantasy as the art of constructing and conveying immersive hypernature. In particular, I argue that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth sequence, serving as the genre’s keystone, helped to usher fantasy away from anthropocentrism and towards chthulucentrism. In the second essay, “Encounters Beyond Story: Poetry in The King of Elfland’s Daughter as an Illustration of Fantasy as Art,” I take the first essay’s theoretical understanding of fantasy and apply it to a close reading of Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter, demonstrating the ways in which Dunsany’s poetic style eschews the notion that fantasy is best understood primarily as a form of story. The full-length manuscript, Things Lost, represents my effort to put my theoretical understanding of the genre into creative practice. In this fantasy, readers venture to the distant city of Vanguard, following a young boy from familiar Earth and a wizard from a faraway realm as they work together to prevent the emergence of an existential threat from ages past.

Available for download on Friday, May 17, 2024