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

Front Cover
Michèle Langford, Michele K. Langford
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990 - Literary Criticism - 232 pages

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.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


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

Making the Dreamed Earth
Notes toward a Theory of National Fantasy
Baums Ambivalent Vision
Science Fiction Cinema in the Age of the Microchip
Rejection of Science in Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Film
The Fantasy of Plenitude
About the Editor and Contributors

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

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).

Bibliographic information