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The Shape of the Fantastic
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Grotesques, angels, beast-man, and the Medusa are among the "marvelous" cast of characters analyzed in this volume. Originally presented at the 7th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts held in 1986, these essays are responses by scholars to a range of creative works by Mark Strand, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kafka, Tolkien, Henry James, Julio Cortazar, Sherwood Anderson, Ursula Le Guin, I.B.Singer, Joyce and others. Examining both mainstream and fantasy literature from many nations, the authors zero-in on the myriad shapes of the fantastic and study the world of SF and film. Five sections treat the fantastic from various perspectives and seven figures illustrate "the essays" theses. In part 1 five authors sleuth out elements of fantasy in poetry, short fiction and a neo-romantic fairy tale. An inquiry is made into fantasy in the post-modernist movement. The "inexplicable reality" or Part 2 refers to deaths that are anything but terminal and four essays chronicle fantastic occurrences whose scientific rationale is tenuous at best. The fifth article traces the elusiveness of fantasy in a number of authors and works. Beast-man, angels, the medusa, and other creatures are the subject of six essays in part 3. In part 4 six essays consider the combination of fantasy with murder mystery, with taoism, with the symbolism of the tarot, with Freudian dreams and with other genres. In the final section essays address fantasy and science fiction in film, present a discussion between two critics of science fictions and view the history and development of the contemporary SF novel.
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Table of Contents

Discovery and Interpretation The Country Nobody Visits: Varieties of Fantasy in Strand's Poetry Fantasy as Criticism in Forster's Short Fiction Tolkien, Crowley, and Postmodernism The Fantastic Through "The Custom-House": Hawthorne's American Romance Kafka's "A Country Doctor" as Neo-Romantic Fairy Tale Inexplicable Reality The Elusiveness of Fantasy Henry James's "Maud-Evelyn": Menage a Trois Fantastique Todorov's Pure Fantastic in a Story by Julio Cortazar Fantasmagoria and Optics in Theophile Gautier's "Arria Marcella" The Fantastic Stories in Las fuerzas Extranas by Leopoldo Lugones Marvelous Beings The Ambiguous Animal: Evolution of the Beast-Man in Scientific Creation Myths Gender Issues in American Angels Structures of Exchange in Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's "L'Intersigne" Medusa and the Romantic Concept of Beauty Two Practitioners of the Grotesque: Sherwood Anderson and Isaac Bashevis Singer Gautier's Spirite: Beyond the Shadow of the Idea Fantasy in Symbiosis with Other Forms Miracles and Murder: Raymond Chandler's Fantastic Stories Taoism in the Fantasies of Ursula K. Le Guin Joyce, Yeats, Tarot, and the Structure of Dubliners Exegeses on Stand on Zanzibar's Digressions into Genesis Dream of Africa: The Function of Dream in Kateb Yacine's Nedjma Elizabeth Perry Murell The Integrated Alien: Ritual Magic in the Fiction of Dion Fortune From Fantasy to Science Fiction: Critical Considerations What Should a SF Novel Be About The Respone of Wonder: Science Fiction and Literary Theory The Insistence of Fantasy in Contemporary Science Fiction Film A Selected Bibliography of Criticism on the Fantastic Index

About the Author

OLENA H. SACIUK born in the Ukraine, received her Ph.D., in comparative literature, from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She is a professor of literature and rhetoric at Inter American University of Puerto Rico. She has presented numerous papers on American, Latin American, and Ukrainian literatures, and also enjoys giving workshops on heuristics in rhetoric. Aside from articles, this is a second book that she has edited. Her composition textbook, Bridges to Writing, is forthcoming from Inter American University Press. Lately, she has tried to combine her interest in science fiction with the study of the three national literatures.

Reviews

"I liked, for the most part, THE SHAPE OF THE FANTASTIC. There is research and thought of the highest order."-True Review ..."the general level of scholarship is high, and the collection presents a good picture of the state of academic criticism of fantasy when the conference was held in 1986."-SFRA Newsletter ?I liked, for the most part, THE SHAPE OF THE FANTASTIC. There is research and thought of the highest order.?-True Review ?...the general level of scholarship is high, and the collection presents a good picture of the state of academic criticism of fantasy when the conference was held in 1986.?-SFRA Newsletter ?Scholarly essays comprising this volume were selected elected from an international conference on the theme of the "Fantastic in the Arts': the result is a varied collection which examines different genres for elements of the fantastic and their characterization and construction. Articles offer some wonderful in-depth analyses of the effects and creation of fantasy settings and characters, offering connections which mingle various genre elements and literary issues with psychological insights and critical assessments. Theories and roles of fantasy in writing, specific writers' achievements (Tolkien, Le Guin and James, among others), and gender and other issues in fantasy works make for a diversity of themes, approaches, and critical forms. The result will appeal to literary audiences with a prior interest in and familiarity with science fiction and fantasy efforts across a broad spectrum of time and genres.?-The Midwest Book Review .,."the general level of scholarship is high, and the collection presents a good picture of the state of academic criticism of fantasy when the conference was held in 1986."-SFRA Newsletter "Scholarly essays comprising this volume were selected elected from an international conference on the theme of the "Fantastic in the Arts': the result is a varied collection which examines different genres for elements of the fantastic and their characterization and construction. Articles offer some wonderful in-depth analyses of the effects and creation of fantasy settings and characters, offering connections which mingle various genre elements and literary issues with psychological insights and critical assessments. Theories and roles of fantasy in writing, specific writers' achievements (Tolkien, Le Guin and James, among others), and gender and other issues in fantasy works make for a diversity of themes, approaches, and critical forms. The result will appeal to literary audiences with a prior interest in and familiarity with science fiction and fantasy efforts across a broad spectrum of time and genres."-The Midwest Book Review

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