For more than 55 years, readers have fallen in love with Frank Herbert’s Dune saga, not only for its epic adventures, but also for its rich commentary on religion, history, philosophy, politics, and environmentalism. Discovering Dune: Essays on Frank Herbert’s Epic Saga—one of the first academic collections covering all six of the author’s Dune books—offers new insights into these stories that have inspired multiple generations.
If you’ve ever considered the contradictions associated with prescience, then you might be interested in Dominic J. Nardi and Nathaniel Goldberg’s essays using different approaches to explain Paul’s prophetic powers. Those who think Irulan never got her due might feel validated by an essay by Maximilian Lau showing how Irulan—like the Byzantine Princess Anna Komnene—took control of her destiny through historiography. An essay by R. Ali uncovers Herbert’s subtle references to Islamic texts throughout the Dune saga , making Dune one of the first works of Arab Futurism.
Fans of Leto II will be glad to know that the book contains two essays—by Michael Phillips and Caroline Anne Womack—about Leto II and his Golden Path. N. Trevor Brierly focuses on unanswered questions about the O.C. Bible, such as the part it played in Paul’s awakening and his religious beliefs. Leigha High MacReynolds unravels the Bene Gesserit’s plans within plans to create the ultimate eugenics program, while Paul Reef situates the first three Dune novels within the context of the environmental movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
There is more, of course, and a table of contents is available at the McFarland website: https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/discovering-dune/. If you’ve ever wanted to go deeper on Dune scholarship, then Discovering Dune might be a good place to start. For true scholars of Dune, the book also contains an extensive research bibliography of Dune scholarship.
The book is also available now on Amazon, both in paperback and eBook formats. Latter can be read on phones, tablets, or computers using the Kindle app, as well as on Kindle e-readers.
Dominic J. Nardi is a political scientist with a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Georgetown University. He has published articles about political themes in speculative fiction, including an award-winning article in Mythlore about J.R.R. Tolkien’s views on democracy and an essay about ethnic identity in Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy (2019). He is co-editor of The Transmedia Franchise of Star Wars TV (2020).
N. Trevor Brierly has a background in literature with an MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin and is working on a masters degree with a concentration in Tolkien studies from Signum University. His research interests focus on world-building in speculative fiction, and he has written and presented working papers about The Lord of the Rings and Dune at academic conferences.