Professional Scholarship

When Gods are Absent from Fantasy: Religion and Spiritual Experience in Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic, by Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun

Appearing at, originally published in The Light of Life. Essays in Honour of Professor Barbara Kowalik, 2017


Faire Ladies Re-Imagined: Female Characters in Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Song for Arbonne, by Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun

Appearing at, originally published Tekstowe światy fantastyki, 2017.


The Once and Future Childslayer: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Inversion of Malory’s Morte Darthur, by Kathy Cawsey

Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry interprets Arthur’s return not as a reward or honor, but as a punishment for killing the children on Mayday. This reinterpretation links the ‘Mayday’ incident with the famous ‘May passages’ and provides a rewriting of the Morte Darthur’s stance on prophecy, predestination, and free will. (KC)


The High Fantasies of Lawhead and Kay, by John J. Doherty

This essay is part of a larger work by Professor Doherty, titled “Arthurian Fantasy, 1980-1989: An analytical and bibliographical survey”. It examines the development of the Arthurian Legend in fantasy literature during the 1980s. We feature here the third section of the paper. Professor Doherty contends that Lawhead and GGK were the first to introduce the concept of High Fantasy into treatments of Arthurian Legend…


The Double-Edged Gift: Power and Moral Choice in The Fionavar Tapestry, by Dena Taylor

This paper, by Dena Taylor, is part of an upcoming book on GGK being published by Nimrod Press (New Lambton, NSW, Australia) in the Babel Handbooks series.


Shifting Focalization and the Strategy of Delay: The Narrative Weaving of The Fionavar Tapestry, by Neil Randall

This paper first appeared in the journal Canadian Literature, issue no. 129 (Summer 1991).


Myth and the New High Fantasy: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, by Janeen Webb

This essay, by Janeen Webb, first appeared in The Ringbearer: Journal of the Mythopoeic Literature Society of Australia, in 1991.


Post-Romantic Romance: Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana and A Song for Arbonne, by Janeen Webb

This essay first appeared in The New York Review of Science Fiction.


Three Glasses of Wine: The Accommodation of Culture in The Lions of Al-Rassan. by Dena Taylor

This is a second paper contributed by Dena Taylor, which will also feature in the upcoming book on GGK being published by Nimrod Press.


The World-Building of Guy Gavriel Kay, by Holly Ordway

This piece was written in the spring of 1998 as an independent study (during Ms Ordway’s PhD) at UMass Amherst, for Prof. Charlotte Spivack. A condensed version of it was accepted for presentation at the 1998 Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. It deals with the mythical and historical sources and inspirations behind The Fionavar Tapestryand The Lions of Al-Rassan.


Guy Gavriel Kay: The Great White Hope of Fantasy Literature, by Leena Peltonen (In Finnish)

Ms Peltonen explained the history of this essay to me in an email. She was at Finncon in 1997, on a panel named “Is Fantasy Dying?” Apparently, almost all translated fantasy in Finland is stock formula fantasy and Tolkien-imitators, and dedicated readers are beginning to get sick and tired of it. GGK’s works have not yet been translated into Finnish, but during that panel, Ms Peltonen stood up and told the audience that he is the Great White Hope… after the panel lots of people gathered around wanting to know more. This essay is the result. Ms Peltonen hopes to translate the essay into English at some point this year. Those of us whose Finnish is shaky are looking forward to that event!


We See by Jad’s Light Alone: Guy Gavriel Kay and the New Sanctuary Mosaicist, by Andrew Patton

This essay by a noted Imperial-regime scholar of Sarantine History (!) first appeared many years ago when Kay’s magnum opus on Sarantium and the building of the New Sanctuary was first published. It has now been reprinted with a new author’s note, as part of a special issue of Sarantine Letters, devoted to re-examining Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantine Mosaic and its place not only in furthering understanding of the Sarantine period, but in contemporary culture.


From Middle Earth to Fionavar: Free Will and Sacrifice in High Fantasy by J.R.R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay, by Susannah Clements

This paper was presented at the Conference on Christianity and Literature 2002, attended primarily by Christian scholars and students. The theme of the conference was whether there is such a thing as a “distinctly Christian literature”. Dr Clements wanted to address a common and frustrating tendency in Christian discourse to assume that texts by Christians will invariably reflect a “Christian worldview” without ever actually exploring what that might look like.



A Song for Arbonne: De-romanticised fantasy, by Nathalie Labrousse-Marchau (In French)

This is not a professional scholarly work, but nevertheless an interesting and incisive look at A Song for Arbonne by a philosophy teacher. Read English translation.


The Other Side of the Mirror: Tigana, by Professor James Gunn

This is a short article written by Professor James Gunn for inclusion as an introduction to a leatherbound edition of Tigana brought out by Easton Press as part of a series of ‘masterpieces of fantasy’.


Guy Gavriel Kay and the Psychology of History, by Christopher Cobb

This is an essay that first appeared in Foundation, examining GGK’s books in relation to alternate history. Christopher Cobb is an assistant professor of English at North Carolina State University.


On Sailing to Sarantium, by Dena Taylor

This originally appeared as a review of Sailing to Sarantium but due to its in-depth focus and the fact that it was written by one of the members of our academic panel, I thought it would belong here, together with her other essays, more than in the reviews section…



Justinien Visité et Revisité, by Pierre-Louis Malosse (In French)

This is a French article that originally appeared in the academic journal Anabases. It deals with Justinian and Theodora, and Guy Kay’s treatment of their “alternates” of Valerius and Alixana in The Sarantine Mosaic. Read English translation.


Kay’s Provençe: From Arbonne to Ysabel, by Fay Ringel

This paper was composed and presented by Fay Ringel, Dept. of Humanities U.S. Coast Guard Academy (retired). It examies and compares GGK’s use and depiction of Provençe in A Song For Arbonne and Ysabel.


La mitologia, fonte di consapevolezza e ispirazione: il mondo di Fionavar di Guy Gavriel Kay, by Mirco Tondi

This article, written in Italian, appears in Fantasy Magazine. It examines the use of myth and legend in The Fionavar Tapestry. Read the synopsis of the article (translated by Emanuele Manco, administrator of Fantasy Magazine) here.


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