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The Cambridge companion to: Fantasy literature | 𝗥𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗣𝗗𝗙 on ResearchGate | The Cambridge companion to: Fantasy literature | Fantasy is not so much. Fantasy is a creation of the Enlightenment and the recognition that excitement and wonder can be found in imagining impossible things. From the ghost stories . Köp Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature av Edward James, Farah Mendlesohn PDF-böcker lämpar sig inte för läsning på små skärmar, t ex mobiler.
Wesleyan University Press, Lewis, Surprised by Joy: Harcourt, Brace, , p. We might begin by asking: Edward Thompson provides a textbook answer: Visigoths and Ostrogoths. The Visigoths, who warred and settled along the Danube, moved into Greece, and thence to Italy, where under the leadership of Alaric I they sacked Rome in , finally settling in southern France.
The Ostrogoths built a large empire in what is now the Ukraine, and after various military victories their king, Theodoric, ruled Italy from the beginning of the sixth century. This little narrative may seem to have little to do with the writing of that mode of fantastic fiction characterized by David Punter: When thinking of the Gothic novel, a set of characteristics springs readily to mind: But bear with me.
This essay seeks, taking this as a starting point, to explore some of the currents of that Gothic flow as they relate to fantasy. The conventional way to draw the connection between the Goths and the Gothic novel is through architecture: Thereafter it fell from favour, and a more austere neoclassicism became the order of the day. Janetta Rebold Benton notes that in its own time Gothic was known as the French style but that sixteenth-century Italians thought the style barbaric, preferring instead the classical.
Because the best known of the barbaric tribes were the Goths, the style was called Gothic, i. The primary signification of Goth at this time was that of barbarous antienlightenment. When George Berkeley, the English rationalist and philosopher, pondered whether every enemy to learning be not a Goth?
And whether every such Goth among us be not an enemy to the country? Poet William Cowper in praised John Milton in similar terms of enlightenment and order: Thus genius rose and set at order'd times He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose; And, tedious years of gothic darkness pass'd, Emerged all splendour in our isle at last.
In the words of Kenneth Clark, in the Middle Ages was still one dark welter from which the Goths alone emerged with a convenient name. When Horace Walpole, in , renovated his villa at Strawberry Hill in west London in a self-consciously old-fashioned Gothic style, he was aiming not at restoring medieval architecture so much as augmenting modern building with a glamour and modish fulsomeness coded medieval.
The same impulse was behind his decision to write a short novel in the Gothic mode. One thing that almost all scholars of the Gothic agree upon is that it was this short novel, The Castle of Otranto , which initiated the late eighteenth-century vogue for Gothic fiction.
The anonymous first edition opens with a preface that presents the book as an actual eleventh- or twelfthcentury story translated into English for the first time and apologizes for the supernatural elements of the narrative: Some apology for it is necessary.
Miracles, visions, necromancies, dreams, and other preternatural events, are exploded now even from romances. That was not the case when our author wrote. Walpole added a second preface confessing to authorship and defending his tale against critics by explicitly siding with Shakespeare over neoclassical philosophe Voltaire.
Overleaf is the third edition's title-page. That the subtitle is printed in a slightly larger font than the title is not unusual for eighteenthcentury novels; although of course it tends to draw out what would later become the generic quality, identifying the novel strongly with a signifier coded barbarous and old-fashioned. The Latin quoted does nothing to reassure the reader. It is from a portion of Horace's Art of Poetry in which bad writing is castigated: Is this to be what the novel provides?
A one-word answer might be: In fact Walpole's epigraph can be read not as wry self-deprecation so much as self-knowing celebration of the anarchic imaginative possibilities his new sort of writing permits him Walpole, after all, was also called Horace.
Otranto is a book that literally disposes disembodied heads and limbs and disposes of its characters and plot to resist the amalgamation of either into a readily comprehensible whole. Otranto is a rather hectic story, as often laughable as alarming; yet for all that packing considerable imaginative punch. Manfred is the tyrant of Otranto, in southern Italy. The marriage of his sickly son Conrad to the beautiful Isabella, taking place in his castle, is interrupted when a gigantic helmet appears from nowhere to crush Conrad to death: The helmet!
It has come, magically, from the titanic statue of the dead Old Prince Alonso; other elements from the statue also manifest themselves about the castle.
When wicked Manfred who poisoned Alonso to seize the throne decides that he will divorce his wife and marry Isabella himself, the portrait of his grandfather comes alive and beckons him away. Terrified, Isabella flees through a pungently described subterranean vault, and meets our hero Theodore, the true heir. There's a good deal of toing and froing, mysterious friars, ghostly apparitions, fighting and the revelation of awful secrets before Manfred mistakenly stabs his own daughter to death, his castle collapses and the giant statue flies up in the air.
Manfred confesses his crimes and dedicates himself to a religious life; Theodore marries Isabella and rules Otranto as rightful prince. In Otranto we find, in nascent form, many of the props and conventions that were to reappear in the scores of novels published at the height of the Gothic vogue from the late s through, roughly, to the end of the century: Many imitators tried to follow Walpole's commercial success by littering their novels with similar props, settings and conventions the haunted castle, the night-time graveyard, the Byronic villain and so on although such a mode of apprehending the success of the book is necessarily reductive.
James Watt makes the point that the genre of Gothic is itself a relatively modern construct he dates its creation to critics working in the early twentieth century and notes that the novels typically gathered together as Gothic vary greatly and manifest often antagonistic relations to one another. Fred Botting tries to put his finger on this quality when he writes that Gothic signifies the literature of excess; but he doesn't specify the sort of excess he is talking about excessive what?
Alexander Pope's poetry might be called excessively poised and classical, but is hardly Gothic. He continues: Vagueness isn't a good way of talking about Gothic. It would be better to. Obscurity, of course, was part of it; and certainly more than one contemporary attempted to dignify the popularity of this form of literature by connecting it with the philosophy of the sublime a venerable philosophical theory of conceptual elevation and refined aesthetic apprehension given new impetus in the eighteenth century by the youthful Edmund Burke's On the Sublime and the Beautiful For Burke, art was sublime if it evoked a sort of refining terror, or horror; if it filled people with awe; if it gave our mortal brains a searing peek at infinity.
It was for him, in other words, a fundamentally religious matter. The sublimity evoked by a book, painting or landscape was a particular blend of inspiration and fear that had to do with the scale of representation, and the transcendent possibilities. Obscurity and the fragmentary were important to it because by their nature they hinted at the unrepresentable God instead of purporting actually to apprehend it.
There was for Burke a gender component too: A well-tended garden might be beautiful; the Alps are sublime; a river or a lake might be beautiful; the ocean is sublime.
Day is beautiful, the night is sublime. Woman is beautiful; man is sublime. Burke was not writing about Gothic as such his treatise antedates the vogue but his ideas were, and have continued to be, taken by defenders of the mode precisely because they offer a way of dignifying an otherwise derided genre. The scares, shocks and thrills Gothic provides are precisely not cheap the argument goes ; they are, in an admittedly populist way, attempts to open the mind to the awe and terror of the genuine sublime.
It is a case that has continued to be made, mutatis mutandi, with Gothic's generic descendents: It is not that this philosophical recuperation of Gothic as a mode is in itself wrongheaded. But it is for all that an attempt to bring respectability to a disreputable mode of writing; a desire to dress the barbarians in togas and assimilate them to classical dignity.
To reread Otranto in the hope of encountering the sublime is, largely, to be disappointed. It is, in fact, a novel that does a weird violence to many of our expectations, barbarically violating classical poise, unity, harmony, propriety, plausibility and taste.
By the end of the book the Italian location of Otranto once ruled by the Italian-sounding Alonso becomes the kingdom of Theodore, a man named after that king of the Ostrogoths who conquered classical Italy.
The desire to elevate Gothic with the philosophical seriousness of Burke's sublime is in part a desire to order and control the mode.
But she nevertheless attempted to distance her work from what she saw as the main flaw of Walpole's work: We can conceive, and allow of, the appearance of a ghost; we can even dispense with an enchanted sword and helmet: A sword so large as to require a hundred men to lift it; a helmet that by its own weight forces a passage through a courtyard, into an arched vault, big enough for a man to go through; a picture that. I was both surprised and vexed to find the enchantment dissolved, which I wished might continue to the end of the book; and several of its readers have confessed the same disappointment to me.
In Reeve's case this resulted in a plodding historical fiction set in the England of Henry VI, a work that, whilst not purging itself of all supernatural elements, does limit them to one haunting by ghosts conventional and traditional enough not to upset her careful guarding of the borderline of tone and genre.
Reeve seeks thereby to avoid the dangers identified with Walpole's proliferation of fantastical signifiers: That Reeve's is a dull novel where Walpole's, though bizarre, embodies a palpable eldritch energy has little to do with the respective talents of these authors as writers, and everything to do with Walpole's implicit understanding that the strength of his fiction lies in its transgressive intensity.
Reeve sought, in other words, to inoculate Gothic literature against the virus of ludicrousness: Certainly the continued success of Otranto owed as much to its almost harlequin quality as it did to more serious-minded dilute preparations of the Burkean sublime, something its many adaptations to the stage tend to make plain. Gothic is often genuinely horrific and full of terrors.
Fans of the Gothic as of fantasy genuinely prize the uncanny tendrils it can drag across the tender membrane of their imagination. But at the same time and in ways that are, strange to say, specifically linked to that effect Gothic as fantasy is ludicrous.
Most modes of literature have been mocked and pastiched, but crime, or love-romance, or the cowboy novel for example have not provided writers with whole careers simply writing parodies of the form.
Fantasy has. This is, indeed, a rich tradition, tolerated within the genre perhaps as a demonstration that its fans can take a joke but actually speaking to a much deeper cultural logic. Diana Wynne Jones The Tough Guide to Fantasyland is a notable text in this regard; Terry Pratchett's important Discworld novels present are even more significant.
Howard school of heroic barbarian, and although they developed into something more than mere parodies they remain profoundly in touch with the unique combination of wonder and ludicrousness at the heart of fantasy as a genre.
Less notable are the serial parodies of J. Rowling and J. Tolkien written by respectively Michael Gerber and the pseudonymous A. Roberts, although the fact of their existence, and many texts like them, is revealing. It is as if emphasizing the ludicrous aspects of the genre, rather than denigrating or diminishing the mode, actually augments it.
Less robust cultural phenomena would be exterminated by such mockery; fantasy, on the contrary, thrives upon it. This is in turn reflects in the ways in which Gothic developed. Most of the very many Gothic tales published in England alone between and are now wholly forgotten. The ones that have survived, and which informed the developing traditions of fantastical, science-fictional and horror writing through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, are the ones that most fully inhabit the sack-ofRome, sprawling, rhizomatic, trans-rational energies of Walpole's form.
In Ann Radcliffe's highly successful The Mysteries of Udolpho the orphaned heroine Emily St Aubert is separated from her true love the handsome Valancourt and sequestered by her.
Emily is terrorized by a number of seemingly supernatural occurrences, but by the end of the novel all of these have been explained either as coincidences or as deliberate attempts by Montoni to intimidate Emily.
The novel finishes, of course, with Montoni vanquished and Emily marrying Valancourt; and this narrative trajectory from irrational terrors to rational explanation, from the threat of transgression to the thumping reinscription of conventional values, marks the book's ambition as in effect anti-Gothic.
Radcliffe ends on an ethically utilitarian note: Rather readers loved the prolonged quasierotic suspense of the heroine's predicament, and more importantly Radcliffe's considerable if overboiled descriptive powers, her ability to evoke landscape in particular. Radcliffe's own subtitle identifies the novel as A Romance, Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry; and the poetic effort to render an exotic, other and sublime southern European locale leaves its trace in the reader's imagination when other features of the strained narrative have long gone.
John Keats in a letter to J. Reynolds, 14 March responds to Radcliffe's power of landscape even, as Gittings argues in his introduction to his letters, he precisely parodies it: I am going among Scenery whence I intend to tip you the Damosel Radcliffe Ill cavern you, and grotto you, and waterfall you, and wood you, and water you, and immense-rock you, and tremendous sound you, and solitude you.
Ill make a lodgement on your glacis by a row of Pines, and storm your covered way with bramble Bushes. More, this world-building very much not limited to castles and subterranean passageways, as Keats's version makes plain is one key way in which the Romantic Gothic opened imaginative spaces for fantasy in the broader sense.
Lewis's The Monk , on the other hand, pours and flows through a number of quasipornographic intensities: Ambrosio, the hitherto virtuous titular cleric, is tempted by Matilda herself disguised as a monk into a sexual relationship. This debauchment leads to further lubriciously rendered sexually violent transgressions, including the rape and murder of the virtuous Antonia. Matilda is eventually revealed as being an agent of Satan, and the Devil himself makes an appearance late in the tale Ambrosio signs away his soul in his own blood in order to gloat in typically gnashing, over-strung style: Hark, Ambrosio, whilst I unveil your crimes!
You have shed the blood of two innocents; Antonia and Elvira perished by your hand. That Antonia whom you violated was your Sister! That Elvira whom you murdered, gave you birth! Incestuous Ravisher!
Tremble at the extent of your offences!
It is true the book was widely condemned, and in places banned, on first publication; although by the same token it was enormously successful not so much a paradox, this, as the typical dialectic reaction to the spectacle of the sack of respectable classical pieties.
The Monk is not genuinely shocking which is to say, it is not like Goya's Los desastres de la guerra etchings because it retains, in its very exuberance, a sense of the way dark sublimity and ludicrousness so easily interpenetrate.
Certainly the early years of the nineteenth century, as the first flush of the Gothic vogue in fiction was starting to burn itself out, saw as many parodies as original novels.
Gothic in its original form. New novels gave themselves elbow room either by embroidering more extreme and shocking detail upon Gothic tropes, or else by reverting back upon the form as parody. The most famous example of this latter is Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey written , published , a work that is of a piece with all Austen's novels in being, at root, an exercise in the subordination of sensibility to sense.
Gothic here functions solely as an index to the heroine's immaturity. Another influential late Gothic text was Charles Maturin's version of the wandering Jew myth, Melmoth the Wanderer It would not be right to describe Melmoth the Wanderer as a parody, exactly; except in the rather specialized sense that Walpole's Otranto already reads like a parody of the form that went on to initiate it. Of all the Gothic novels from this period the one that proved most influential was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
Scientist Victor Frankenstein brings an eight-foot-tall artificial man to life; terrified by his own achievement, he abandons his creation and temporarily loses his memory. The creature it is never named blunders about the world, learning from its experiences, mostly the experience of the hostility of other people towards its hideous appearance, something it pays back to society in acts of murderous violence.
Much of this tale, not only its fantastical premise, edges the absurd: But nevertheless there is genuine pathos in the monster's loneliness, and a flavour of sublime grandeur in the trans-European trek it and its maker, Frankenstein undertake, ending up in the enormous wastes of the North Pole.
In a way more significant than the novel itself is the considerable influence Frankenstein exerted upon nineteenth- and twentieth-century culture; the monster flowing and pouring into a variety of other cultural forms, from stage adaptations and allusions via Carlyle, Dickens, Marx and into the twentieth century in cinematic, televisual cartoon and general cultural form.
More, Shelley's novel can be read equally as proto-science fiction with the monster as the product of a strictly scientific endeavour or horror with the monster as an irrational eruption of the uncanny into ordinary life.
Later Gothic novels spun variations out of their supernatural monsters, introducing different varieties of monster, as well as vampires Polidori's The Vampyre , or much more famously Bram Stoker's Dracula and shape-shifting beast-men, such as George W. Hyde What all these monsters have in common is their protean ability to transform, to move from unexceptional human behaviour to barbaric, violent, transgressive and unfettered.
In this respect they are emblematizations of the protean force of the Gothic novel itself; a form capable of being associated with supernatural excess, but one that proved easily capable of assuming the shape of mundane Victorian domestic fiction.
Many of the most successful nineteenth-century novels contain, coiled within them, a beating Gothic heart. In Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights family life and love receives a Byronic injection of Gothicized passion and terror in the form of Heathcliff; Dickens's. Almost any mainstream Victorian writer can be characterized along these lines.
By the time of John Ruskin's influential account of The Nature of Gothic it is clear that Gothic had become a synonym for Victorian, and indeed for northern European: Ruskin is explicit that his focus is this grey, shadowy, many-pinnacled image of the Gothic spirit within us, and his intention to [discern] what fellowship there is between it and our Northern hearts.
Late eighteenthcentury European equivalents lack the distinctive barbarism of English Gothic. For instance, the French roman noir was epitomised by Franois dArnaud , who specialized in rather stately, sombre novels that were in Thophile Civrays words imits de l'anglais whilst also being surchargs de dclamation et de sensibilit, in the words of Rousseau.
But these works very often lack the specifically supernatural component that feeds into fantasy writing more generally conceived, and Sturm und Drang was much shorter-lived than Gothic After , Ernst Rose notes, it had practically passed. Hoffmann's Die Elixiere des Teufels is in effect a rewriting of Lewis's The Monk something the novel itself acknowledges. The Gothic elements of Polish author Jan Potocki's French-language Manuscrit trouv Saragosse published after his death in are also parasitical upon earlier models.
Guy de Maupassant's chilling La Horla , about an individual effectively driven mad by extra-terrestrial powers, combines Gothic with science-fictional logics. In Spain Benito Galds's La Sombra , a work that relies heavily on conventions of the Gothic tradition,20 harks all the way back to Walpole, as the protagonist Anselmo terrorizes the wife he believes has been unfaithful to him with a portrait of Paris, from Greek myth, magically come alive.
What I am talking about, then, is a process of cultural colonization, and one that specifically maps out the territory in which modern fantasy was later to grow. The Gothic was one of the major vehicles by which Romanticism poured out to dominate literature and, although it would be foolish to pretend to be able to define that cultural form in a single phrase, it is not out of place to stress the link between Gothic and Romantic aesthetic logics.
Romanticism is, amongst other things, the barbaric energies of an imagined past pouring and flowing disruptively through previously established canons of classical taste: Heinrich Heine's definition of the Romantic school is relevant here, not least as a way of characterizing the subsequent evolution of Fantasy: This, in Kunst und Leben, epitomizes Tolkien's ethicoaesthetic project, and the multiple interconnections between late twentieth-century fantasy and alternative and environmentalist lifestyles.
Which brings this essay back, finally, to Gothic, and the strange trajectory of its reputation. It began as a mode of fantastic writing confined to a small portion of land off the northern European coastline.
But it poured; it flowed across the continent, overthrowing cultural logics predicated upon the ordered solidity of classical models and bringing a disruptive, sometimes violent and transgressive vigour. By the end of the century it had changed Greece and Rome from the rather frigid stasis of Winckelmann to the furious, sexually liberatory, sacred violence of Nietzsche, Swinburne, Wilde and E. Dodds's The Greeks and the Irrational a reimagining of Western culture's classical heritage that is, in effect, a Gothicization of its cultural assumptions.
But, having sacked Rome, it spread further, under two different names.
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Visigothically speaking, a materialist Gothic-fantastic proliferated and came to be called in the twentieth century science fiction: Science fiction pretended to replace Gothic fiction's passion for antiquity with a passion for imagined futures, although these Asimov's Roman-imperial Galactic Empire, Frank Herbert's medievalized Dune universe were often the past passing itself off as the future.
One of the consistent lessons of Gothic is that, though we may try, we cannot escape the past. Ostrogothically, though and, eventually, to even greater commercial success a different sort of Gothic spread flowed, poured over the cultural landscape: It turned its back, largely, on the possibilities of Greek and Roman myth and took up instead specifically northern European portfolio of stories and archetypes.
Relishing the medievalism of the Gothic outlook as a specific and barbed critique of modernity, as in the fantastical writing of Morris, Lewis and Tolkien; inhabiting gloomy, ornate architectural castles like Mervyn Peake and T.
By this point Gothic fiction had interbred with so many other cultural modes and genres as to became, effectively, simply Literature. Hammond and H. Scullard eds.
One of the editors wished to point out that this textbook answer is probably quite wrong: Longman, Longman, , p. Thames and Hudson, , p. Penguin, , p. A Gothic Story, 3rd edn London, , p. Routledge, , p. Howard Anderson Oxford University Press, , p. Kent and D.
Ewen, Romantic Parodies: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, , pp. Clarendon Press, Volume the Second, The Sea-Stories. London, , pp. Fayard , p. Peter Owen, , p.
Sammons, Heinrich Heine: Alternative Perspectives Munich: Knigshausen and Neumann, , p. Their reports were full of strange people, weird foodstuffs, incredible riches. Such travellers tales inevitably became the basis of literature about America which, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was often written to advertise colonial ventures by people who had never been there.
During the first years of European settlement in America, settlers primarily saw themselves as British, French or Spanish rather than as American, and what literature there was, therefore, tended to continue such fanciful forms, or to follow European models, subject matter and sensibilities.
By the time of American independence, however, journals featuring American poets, essayists and short story writers were being published in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
Of the first generation of American novelists who used the Gothic mode around the time of the Revolution and in its immediate aftermath, the most significant was probably Charles Brockden Brown. Brown absorbed the Gothic sensibilities and radical perspectives of writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.
His reading informed a series of startling, often violent novels which appeared over a very short period at the end of the century. The first published was Wieland; or, the Transformation , in which the title character is driven to madness and murder by a malevolent ventriloquist who makes Wieland believe he is hearing the voice of God. In Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker , Huntly sets out to find a murderer but, after a mysterious episode of sleep walking, discovers that the real villains are American Indians who committed the crime to foment a war against the settlers.
Although they contained nothing overtly supernatural, Brown's novels were rich with the menace and mystery of the Gothic, and his work would have a direct influence on later writers as varied as Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe.
Brown's manipulation of history and romance to produce dramatic tales set in a distinctive American landscape would also inspire James Fenimore Cooper, whose Leatherstocking novels, beginning with The Pioneers , would begin the mythologizing of the American frontier that has been a consistent feature of American literature to the present day, in both the fantastic and mainstream.
As a leading literary figure in early nineteenth-century New York, Brown encouraged a number of younger writers, most notably Washington Irving, with whom the story of American fantasy really begins. Irving is a significant but curious figure in the history of American fantasy, not least because of the way he would elide truth and fiction. He used numerous pseudonyms, and he prepared the way for his first book, A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker , by anonymously placing missing person notices in New York newspapers for Knickerbocker, and another notice supposedly from a hotelier saying that if Knickerbocker failed to pay his bill he would publish the manuscript that Knickerbocker had left behind.
The History was as much fancy as fact, but was an immediate success. Published in numerous instalments and with different contents in Britain and America, this was. The Sketch Book also included a ghost story, The Spectre Bridegroom , and the two short stories for which Irving is now best remembered. Rip Van Winkle tells of a lazy, henpecked farmer who falls in with a strange crew one day in the mountains and under their influence falls asleep for twenty years, waking to find his wife dead and his hometown transformed.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow concerns a superstitious schoolteacher who one night encounters what he believes to be the legendary Headless Horseman.
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Both are based on German tales but relocated to settings, the Catskill Mountains and the little town of Sleepy Hollow near Tarrytown, that Irving had known in his youth. Irving showed his successors that America itself was a suitable and appropriate home for the fantastic; but Edgar Allan Poe, the most important figure in the history of American fantasy before the twentieth century, took up this challenge in only a few of his stories.
Right from his first published story, Metzengerstein , Edgar Allan Poe looked to European settings and themes, in this instance a parody of the Gothic that involved two feuding families in Hungary. In Metzengerstein a horse becomes the embodiment of death, a figure who, in one guise or another, crops up frequently in Poe's more fevered and grotesque tales. Most famously, in The Masque of the Red Death, death is a blood-spattered, shrouded figure who silently intrudes on an aristocratic party while the revellers try to ignore the plague raging nearby.
Death hangs over nearly all of Poe's fiction, which takes to an extreme the tropes and devices of the Gothic novel. Often the stories proceed with no more logic than a fever dream. One of his bestknown stories, The Pit and the Pendulum , is punctuated by regular blackouts which allow a series of horrors to be introduced and removed without the need for any scene-setting or sceneshifting.
Thus our unnamed narrator is arraigned before an unknown court, blackout; the narrator is in a pitch-black cell, blackout; the narrator discovers a fathomless pit at the centre of his cell, blackout; the narrator is strapped to a table with a razor-sharp pendulum descending upon him but effects an escape, blackout; the narrator discovers the walls of his cell closing in, pushing him towards the pit, before at the last moment he is rescued.
At times Poe puts this morbid fascination with death at the services of stories that would be the precursor of the modern detective novel The Murders in the Rue Morgue, ; at other times he comes closer to science fiction The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, , which leads through gruesome mass killings and cannibalism to end on the portal of a Hollow Earth story ; most often, however, Poe's fantasies are driven by images of terror and despair. The same few motifs recur with horrible regularity.
The death of a beautiful woman, for instance which some critics have linked to the death of Poe's wife, Virginia, in at the age of twenty-five, though the theme was a consistent part of Poe's repertoire even before she began to show symptoms of tuberculosis in crops up in Berenice , Ligeia and The Fall of the House of Usher My first and best academic book in English.
Vyborna kniha! Nemohly by vsechny akademicke texty byt napsane tak srozumitelne a ctive, Jezisku? Varovani ministerstva zdravotnictvi: Jan 08, Dylan rated it liked it.
I enjoyed the assigned essays and finally finished reading all the other essays in the companion. I enjoyed the structure and variety of this collection. It is divided into three sections: I recommend this collection to anyone interested in understanding the function of the fantasy genre or exploring specific subgenres.
One of the best things about reading these collections is that they often discuss a wide range of literature and provide a variety of viewpoints.
This serves as a great introduction to a study of fantasy literature in its many guises. The only complaint I have pertains to a few essays: May 27, Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it Shelves: When I read books like this I want i a better understanding of books I have already read and ii s http: When I read books like this I want i a better understanding of books I have already read and ii suggestions of books I might read in the future which may appeal to me, and I was fully satisfied on both points.
In particular I note that many chapters referenced Rosemary Jackson's Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, which I must now look out for. Other individuals with more than ten references in the index: Hoffmann, Ursula K. Le Guin, C. Lewis, H. Strongly recommended. Apr 29, Andrew rated it liked it. As with most entries in the Cambridge Companion series, the good is good and the mediocre is mediocre.
It is as if to say, "This type of literature is manifested in these works: X, Y, Z. Here's how they go, and here's how they end. Here's a nearly stereotypical academic assessment of the work or author. May 17, Chris rated it really liked it.
I learned a lot of good stuff here. But I think more than anything, I got to add a huge number of potential reads to my list. The history section was interesting.
A lot of the literary criticism flew way over my head, and I'm sure a re-read would help me out greatly there but I probably won't do it. The most interesting section to me was the one that broke down many of the sub-genres of fantasy. It was in that section that many of the authors gave varied examples and many of them caught my attenti I learned a lot of good stuff here. It was in that section that many of the authors gave varied examples and many of them caught my attention.
I've already read Who Fears Death based on an essay written by its author.
It was great, by the way. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone. It is full of some pretty dry material, but if you are a big fantasy fan that wants to know more about the genre, it's worth checking out.
Oct 01, Sue rated it really liked it. An extremely interesting and thought-provoking collection of essays on various aspects of fantasy literature, this book was very entertaining, if not always entirely accessible to the average reader.
I particularly enjoyed the chapters on urban fantasy and dark fantasy, and also on ways of approaching and reading fantasy. In particular, the essay on slipstream reading Gregory Frost was fascinating. As with any "textbook" type of non-fiction reading, there were areas of thought with which I did An extremely interesting and thought-provoking collection of essays on various aspects of fantasy literature, this book was very entertaining, if not always entirely accessible to the average reader.
As with any "textbook" type of non-fiction reading, there were areas of thought with which I didn't entirely agree, but there were also many thought-provoking ideas presented. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read. Dec 21, Shiloh rated it really liked it Shelves: Like most of the Cambridge Companions, this is a good starting point for studying various aspects of fantasy literature. Sep 09, verbava rated it really liked it Shelves: Mark P.
Williams This course will begin from the premise of Brian Aldiss' seminal critical works Billion Year Spree and Trillion Year Spree that we can trace a direct line of descent from the Gothic fictions of the eighteenth century into the Science Fiction and Fantasy of the twentieth by beginning with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
It will encourage students to engage with the stylistic and conceptual content of the Gothic through extracts from key Gothic texts, and move forward to show how this informs the development of what become the tap-root texts of the Science Fiction and Fantasy canons. The texts under consideration will take us from the early s to the contemporary moment, to undertake contextual exploration of historical genres and examine what they mean to us today.
They will also help us to understand how contemporary writers employ diverse of the stylistic and conceptual elements of the forms Gothic, Science Fiction and Fantasy to new political and aesthetic ends in the contemporary world, through humour, irony and the transformation of earlier formulations of the fantastic such as the Weird. Theory Literary and Cultural Theory: For those unfamiliar with literary and cultural theory, Peter Barry's book gives a good historical overview coupled with theoretical summaries and further reading: Beginning theory : an introduction to literary and cultural theory Barry, Peter 3.
Manchester [u. Press, For SF Theory Genre Theory: For genre-specific theory the following are key theoretical points of contact: The literature of terror : a history of Gothic fictions, from to the present day Punter, David London [u.
Press, Profile Mark P. II, Ch. V—the ending] 4 Tue, 9. May R.Fred Botting tries to put his finger on this quality when he writes that Gothic signifies the literature of excess; but he doesn't specify the sort of excess he is talking about excessive what? Senior continues with a consideration of the form of fantasy that has dominated the bookshop shelves for over thirty years: quest fantasies are often derided but, as Senior demonstrates, they can be sophisticated and complex.
Gothic in its original form. A sequel, With Her in Ourland , took one of the women from Herland into the land of men.
She lives and works in Cambridge, UK. Roz Kaveney is a freelance writer, critic and publisher's reader living in London.
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