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Fantasy flora

Flore imaginaire

“Fantasy Art and Studies” Journal

Revue « Fantasy Art and Studies »

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Published on Thursday, April 11, 2024

Abstract

Branchiflora, athelas, feainnewedd or rougeoyeur: these are the names of some of the imaginary plants that grow in fantasy worlds. Whether marvellous or not, invented from scratch or borrowed from our reality, flora plays a part in the world-building process. As a constituent element of the xeno-encyclopaedia of a work, it enriches a fictional world, giving it depth and enabling readers to better imagine the space in which they are immersed. The 17th issue of Fantasy Art and Studies aims to explore the flora in fantasy works.

Announcement

Argument

Branchiflora, athelas, feainnewedd or rougeoyeur: these are the names of some of the imaginary plants that grow in fantasy worlds. Whether marvellous or not, invented from scratch or borrowed from our reality, flora plays a part in the world-building process. As a constituent element of the xeno-encyclopaedia (Saint-Gelais, 1999) of a work, it enriches a fictional world, giving it depth and enabling readers to better imagine the space in which they are immersed. 

Since Western medieval fantasy regularly features natural environments, it’s hardly surprising to find descriptions of forests and trees. Some authors, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, give plants a prominent place in their texts. The Oxford professor also liked to depict trees, flowers and plant motifs in his illustrations.

The paratext of certain novels or comics sometimes has a special focus on flora. Not only may it appear on the cover illustrations, but it may also be detailed in glossaries or herbariums. Le Jardin des Fées (Audrey Alwett and Nora Moretti, 2022-...), for example, inherits from this type of collection. The title pages of this comic tell readers about the properties of the flowers, some of which will appear in the diegetic space. 

But does the vegetation play a purely ornamental role? Is it just decoration? Of course not. In some works, it can be given a narrative or symbolic function.

Ground into powder, chopped and stemmed, plants are regularly used in Fantasy to make potions or various ointments prepared by initiates. The plant is then invested with a power. Beneficial or harmful, salutary or deleterious, plants are often linked to magic and can perform a thousand wonders. Such is the case with the zoopipelette that allows you to speak the language of animals in L’Herboriste de Hoteforais (Nathalie Somers, 2021) or the mandrake that cures Ofelia’s mother in Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro, 2006). Different tree species are also regularly used in the creation of marvellous objects: flying brooms made from fir branches, magic wands made from holly, yew or hawthorn and rowan sticks. Is there a link between the personalities of magicians and their plant accessories? Do plants make the sorcerer?

In The Lord of the Rings, the White Tree is more than a plant: it is an emblem. And what can we say about the characters, especially the witches, whose very names carry a plant symbolism, like Dame Mélisse in Magic Charly (Audrey Alwett, 2019-2022) or the stinging Ortie (Nettle), Ronce (Bramble) and Épine (Thorn) in Mille pertuis (Julia Thévenot, 2023)? From time to time, flora also gives rise to hybrid semi-plant creatures, as illustrated by Brian Froud’s trolls and goblins.

Fantasy works that feature plants also sometimes have an ecological message: valuing the wild world, raising awareness of the ephemeral aspect of nature, encouraging people to protect it, and so on. Does this phenomenon appear more frequently in contemporary production and, more specifically, in that aimed at young people? Does flora acquire a didactic function?

While the fauna that populates imaginary worlds has frequently been studied – the recurring bestiary of the genre as well as that of a particular author – analyses of flora, on the other hand, are much more scarce. The 17th issue of Fantasy Art and Studies therefore aims to explore the flora in fantasy works.

Articles may address the following themes, among others:

  • the ornamental, narrative and symbolic functions of plants, 
  • the invention of flora and fantasy herbariums: sources of inspiration, names, sketches, etc.,
  • characters associated with plants: gardeners, botanists, herbalists, florists, etc.,
  • the boundaries of plants and hybridisation (plant/animal, plant/human),
  • the ecocritical perspective of works through plants. 

Submission guidelines

Abstracts of approximately 2,000 characters, written in English or French, should be accompanied by short biographical presentation, and sent in .doc or .docx format to: fantasyartandstudies@outlook.com

by 10 June 2024

After acceptance by the journal's editorial board, full papers of no more than 30,000 characters (including spaces and notes), in French or English, will be due by 9 September 2024. 

Please check the detailed formatting instructions before forwarding your paper.

Convenors of the issue

  • Viviane Bergue, Docteur en Littérature Comparée, directrice de la publication et éditrice de la revue, présidente des Têtes Imaginaires
  • Justine Breton, Maître de Conférence en Littérature française, Université de Reims-Champagne Ardenne (INSPE de Troyes)
  • Florie Maurin, Docteur en Littérature française, conférencière et formatrice indépendante https://apagesegales.fr/, coordinatrice scientifique du n°17
  • Sabrina Lusuriello, Docteur en Littérature française et comparée, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3
  • Siegfried Würtz, comité de lecture fiction

Reference list 

  • Bouvet Rachel, Posthumus Stéphanie (dir.), « Études végétales / Plant Studies », L’Esprit créateur, vol. 60-4, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021.
  • Maurin Florie, « Des femmes, des plantes et de la magie. Les herboristes en fantasy jeunesse », Fantasy jeunesse, 2022, https://fantasyjeune.hypotheses.org/2836 
  • Prince Nathalie, Thiltges Sébastian (dir.), Éco-graphies. Écologie et littératures pour la jeunesse, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2018. 
  • Trivisani-Moreau Isabelle, Postel Philippe (dir.), Natura in fabula. Topiques romanesques de l’environnement, Leyde, Brill, 2019.
  • Ueltschi Karin, Verdon Flore (dir.), Grandes et petites mythologies II. Mythe et conte, faune et flore, Reims, Épure, 2022.

Date(s)

  • Monday, June 10, 2024

Keywords

  • fantasy, flore, végétal, plantes, arbres, imaginaire

Contact(s)

  • Viviane Bergue
    courriel : fantasyartandstudies [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Florie Maurin
    courriel : fantasyartandstudies [at] outlook [dot] com

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Florie Maurin
    courriel : fantasyartandstudies [at] outlook [dot] com

License

CC-BY-4.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International - CC BY 4.0 .

To cite this announcement

Florie Maurin, « Fantasy flora », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, April 11, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w750

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