Dr. Philip Chase Shares What Can be Expected – Posted 11/10/14

For those looking to delve into the realm of fantasy and receive three college credits, look no further than Dr. Philip Chase’s Fantasy Novel course, coming to County College of Morris (CCM) in spring 2015.

As an associate professor of English and author of The Edan Trilogy, Chase is well qualified to take students on an educational journey into the world of fantasy.

“Fantasy is akin to myth and dreams,” says Chase. “It involves leaving behind the familiar to encounter the strange, the terrible and the beautiful.”

Registration for spring 2015 is now taking place, so students interested in the course should enroll now for ENG-210 to ensure a spot in the class.

While designing the Fantasy Novel course, Chase took into careful consideration the books he feels best represent the genre. As a personal favorite, he selected Tolkien’s The Hobbit since The Lord of the Rings series can be credited with popularizing fantasy. Other reads include George Martin’s A Game of Thrones due to its enormous impact on modern fantasy culture.

“I think Martin is maybe the most talented writer of fantasy alive right now. It would be crazy not to include A Game of Thrones,” says Chase. “To me the book is 1,000 times better than the television series.”

Chase also is including A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin because of her influence on future generations of authors, most notably J.K. Rowling.

“Ursula K. Le Guin sets up the Harry Potter trope of going away to a place where you have to learn to be a wizard,” explains Chase. “She did that long before Harry Potter.”

With that in mind, Chase is positive that the class also will be reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. In addition, he plans to include Neil Gaiman’s American Gods to represent urban fantasy as well as Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind to share the eloquent writing the genre has to offer.

Chase hopes that the course will help to eliminate some of the stigma associated with fantasy.

“There is a stereotype about fantasy that it’s escapist,” says Chase. “When you call something escapist, you have to ask the question, escaping from what to what?”

Similar to Chase’s other English classes, students will be required to write a research paper. They will be asked to explore a theme of one novel of their choice using secondary sources.

Along with removing the stigma surrounding fantasy, Chase hopes his students will come to embrace the release that comes through reading.

“If you have ever had that experience of what Aristotle called ‘catharsis,’ when you read a book and at the very end when you turn the last page and you are sitting there stunned and you see things a little differently, then you have experienced the wonder of reading,” says Chase. “I think fantasy is a wonderful vehicle for offering that experience.”

To apply to CCM, go to www.ccm.edu/admissions. Once admitted, students can register for courses online by visiting https://webadvisor.ccm.edu, clicking on “Students” and then “Search for Sections.”

Photo Credit: Talia Smith