The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

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Cornell University Press, 1975 - Literary Criticism - 180 pages
32 Reviews

In The Fantastic, Tzvetan Todorov seeks to examine both generic theory and a particular genre, moving back and forth between a poetics of the fantastic itself and a metapoetics or theory of theorizing, even as he suggest that one must, as a critic, move back and forth between theory and history, between idea and fact. His work on the fantastic is indeed about a historical phenomenon that we recognize, about specific works that we may read, but it is also about the use and abuse of generic theory.

As an essay in fictional poetics, The Fantastic is consciously structuralist in its approach to the generic subject. Todorov seeks linguistic bases for the structural features he notes in a variety of fantastic texts, including Potocki's The Sargasso Manuscript, Nerval's Aurélia, Balzac's The Magic Skin, the Arabian Nights, Cazotte's Le Diable Amoureux, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and tales by E. T. A. Hoffman, Charles Perrault, Guy de Maupassant, Nicolai Gogol, and Edgar A. Poe.


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Review: The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

User Review  - Goodreads

This book was fine. I had to write a paper on it though, so I think I got a little too much of it. It was just ok in the end. Read full review

Review: The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

User Review  - Sissel - Goodreads

I liked his arguments in the first few chapters, but I quickly lost interest in chapter five and onwards. Read full review


literary genres
definition of the fantastic
the uncanny and the marvelous
poetry and allegory
discourse of the fantastic
themes of the fantastic introduction
themes of the self
themes of the other
literature and the fantastic

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About the author (1975)

Born in Sofia, Tzvetan Todorov left Bulgaria in the early 1960s and moved to Paris, where he established himself as a literary theorist, historian of ideas, and world-renowned essayist. He is a director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the author of numerous books. Several of these have been translated into English, including: Facing the Extreme (1996), A French Tragedy (1996), On Human Diversity (1993), and The Conquest of America (1984).

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