Contours of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Eighth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

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Michèle Langford
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 232 pages
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Addressing the world of the imaginary, the dream, the uncanny, the paranormal, and all forms of speculative fiction, Contours of the Fantastic is a collection of twenty-two essays that were originally presented at the Eighth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts at Houston in 1987. The volume gives valuable perspectives on the territory covered by the fantastic, showing the diversity of the field and the variety of approaches used to survey and comprehend it. Each essay brings its own method of investigation--phenomenological, theoretical, historical, sociological, psychological, textual--in an effort to situate the border between reality and fantasy and the passage from one to the other. Authors and works discussed in the volume include Balzac, Dickens, Poe, Aldous Huxley, C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Muriel Spark, Mary Shelley, Albee's The Zoo Story, Pynchon, Coleridge's Christabel, Le Fanu's Carmilla, and Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant trilogies. Following the editor's introductory essay, the work is divided into 7 sections: Fantasy and Discontinuity, Theory of National Fantasy--Tradition and Invention, Fantastic Vision in Children's Literature, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, Fusion, Transfusion, and Transgression in the Fantastic, The Fantastic and Science, and The Fantastic World--Space and Time. Individual essays within these major divisions zero in on specific works of fantasy; offer a psychology of fantasy writers; analyze language; assess fantasy from a national perspective; and investigate Christian horror in fiction. The final two sections delineate the border between fantasy and reality--in science and in relation to space and time.

Among the outstanding contributors are Brian Aldiss, novelist, poet, and critic, author of more than two dozen books-- many of which are considered science fiction classics; Vivian Sobchack, science fiction film critic and writer on semiotics and phenomenology; and Nancy Willard, author of prize-winning novels, collected stories, poetry, and children's books. Generalists in literature and the arts, sociology, the natural sciences, engineering, and aeronautics as well as students and scholars, aestheticians, and critics of the fantasy/science fiction genres in literature, film, and art will find this collection both a useful and fascinating volume.

 

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Contents

Fatal Breaks
3
Romantic Irony and the Roots of Science Fiction
7
Displacement and Death in Albees Zoo Story
19
The Self the Referent and the Real in Science Fiction and the Fantastic
29
The British and American Traditions of Speculative Fiction
39
Archetypes of Love and Death in Le Fanus Carmilla
49
A New Hampshire Yankee in Queen Elizabeths Court
57
Techniques of the Fantastic in Two West African Novels
65
Dead and Buried and Nomads by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
121
The Varieties of Christian Horror Fiction
131
Fusion Transfusion and Their Negative Correlates in The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
141
The Element of the Fantastic and the Artist Figure in the Novels of Muriel Spark
149
The Challenge of the Occult to Science Reason and Psychiatry
165
Shifting Paradigms for Science Fiction
173
A Geography of the Fantastic
187
Structuring the Supernatural Moment
197

Making the Dreamed Earth
77
Notes toward a Theory of National Fantasy
81
Baums Ambivalent Vision
89
Science Fiction Cinema in the Age of the Microchip
101
Rejection of Science in Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Film
113
The Fantasy of Plenitude
207
Bibliography
217
Index
223
About the Editor and Contributors
229
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About the author (1990)

MICHELE K. LANGFORD is Professor of French Literature and Cinema at Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. Her previously published works include Les Menageries Intimes (1983), The Notion of Power in Surrealism, Existentialism, and Science Fiction, Extrapolation (1986), and L'Univers Fantastique dans les contes de Jean Ray, Le Ragioni Critche (1988).

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