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Idaho State University
Brian Attebery

Brian Attebery

Professor of English; Editor, Journal of the Fantastic in Arts

Office: LA 225



PhD, American Civilization (1979), Brown University

MA, American Civilization (1976), Brown University

BA, English (1974), The College of Idaho


My first scholarly publication was on Emily Dickinson, but I soon turned away from canonical topics. Since that first effort, I have written on fantasy, science fiction, Disney films, utopias, children’s literature, gender, and interdisciplinarity–all dodgy topics for one reason or another. My article on Henry Nash Smith, Leo Marx, and the theoretical basis for their pioneering work in American Studies appeared in American Quarterly in 1996. Collaborators Ursula K. Le Guin,  Karen Joy Fowler, and I edited the groundbreaking Norton Book of Science Fiction; I also wrote a teacher’s guide to the volume. In 1991 I received the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies a year later. I was named ISU’s Distinguished Researcher in 1997 and was given an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities by the Idaho Humanities Council in 2004. In the fall of 2006 I took over as editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, with graduate students in the ISU English Department serving as editorial assistants.

My most recent scholarly book, Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth again won the Mythopoeic Award for fantasy studies. From January through July of 2019 I was in Scotland as Leverhulme Visiting Professor of Fantasy at the University of Glasgow.


Ursula K. Le Guin: Always Coming Home. Author’s expanded edition. Edited by Brian Attebery. New York: The Library of America, 2019.

Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Parabolas of Science Fiction. Ed. with Veronica Hollinger. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2013.

Decoding Gender in Science Fiction. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Strategies of Fantasy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

"Reinventing Masculinity in Fairy Tales by Men." Marvels & Tales 32.2 (2019).

"The Fantastic." The Oxford Handbook of Science Fiction. Ed. Rob Latham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. 127-138.

"Structuralism and Fantasy." Cambridge Companion to Fantasy. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 81-90.

"Teaching Gender and Science Fiction." Teaching Science Fiction. Ed. Peter Wright and Andy Sawyer. Teaching the New English Series. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011. 146-71.

"Elizabeth Enright and the Family Story as Genre." Children's Literature 37 (2009): 114-36.

"Patricia Wrightson and Aboriginal Myth." Extrapolation 46 (2005): 329-39.

"Dust, Lust, and Other Messages from the Quantum Wonderland." Nanoculture: Implications of the New Technoscience. Ed. N. Katherine Hayles. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2004. 161-69.

"The Magazine Era: 1926-1960." The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction. Ed. Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003. 32-47

Contributions to Reading Narrative Fiction, by Seymour Chatman. New York: Macmillan, 1993.


Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Myth and Fantasy Studies for Stories about Stories, 2015.

Distinguished Researcher, ISU, 1997

Master Researcher, ISU, 1991, 1995, 1996

Courses Taught


  • 4492/5592: Folklore and Literature
  • 4467/5567: Studies in Late 19th-Century Literature
  • 4441/5541: History and Criticism of Children’s Literature
  • 2277: Survey of American Literature I
  • 2212: Introduction to Folklore
  • 1115: Literature of the Fantastic
  • AMST 2200: Introduction to American Studies
  • Seminar in Genre: Utopia
  • Seminar in Pedagogy: Teaching Science Fiction