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Rosemary Jackson ( - )

Related: fantastic literature - fantastique - fantastic - fantasy - subversion

Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (1981) - Rosemary Jackson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (1981) - Rosemary Jackson

First sentence: "THE 'FANTASTIC' derives form the Latin, phantasticus, which is from the Greek , meaning to make visible or manifest..."

Book Description
This study argues against vague interpretations of fantasy as mere escapism and seeks to define it as a distinct kind of narrative. A general theoretical section introduces recent work on fantasy, notably Tzventan Todorov's The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (1973). Dr Jackson, however, extends Todorov's ideas to include aspects of psychoanalytical theory. Seeing fantasy as primarily an expression of unconscious drives, she stresses the importance of the writings of Freud and subsequent theorists when analysing recurrent themes, such as doubling or multiplying selves, mirror images, metamorphosis and bodily disintegration. Gothic fiction, classic Victorian fantasies, the 'fantastic realism' of Dickens and Dostoevsky, tales by Mary Shelley, James Hogg, E.T.A. Hoffmann, George Eliot, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, R.L. Stevenson, Franz Kafka, Mervyn Peake and Thomas Pynchon are among the texts covered. Through a reading of thse frequently disquieting works, Dr Jackson moves towards a definition of fantasy expressing cultural unease. These issues are discussed in relation to a wide range of fantasies with varying images of desire and disenchantment. --via Amazon.co.uk

Although only tangentially concerned with sf, Rosemary Jacksonís Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (1981) is perhaps the best general study of the fantastic published in the last twenty years, and it provides a complex and compelling background against which to consider sf as a fantastic sub-genre (Jackson uses "fantasy" in the expansive sense more often connoted by "the fantastic"). While Jackson begins with Todorovís influential theoretical work on the fantastic, she develops it and extends it; her theoretical context owes much to Freud, Lacan, Cixous, and Foucault. For Jackson, fantasy, as the "other" side of realism, is a literature of desire, of otherness, of the marginal and the repressed; it is also a potentially powerful imaginative mode through which to critique and subvert dominant forms of reality (although Jackson does not claim that all fantasy aims to subvert dominant ideological systems): "Far from construing [fantasyís] attempt at erosion [of hegemonic ideology] as a mere embrace of barbarism or of chaos, it is possible to discern it as a desire for something excluded from cultural orderómore specifically, for all that is in opposition to the capitalist and patriarchal order which has been dominant in Western society over the last two centuries" (176). Kathryn Humeís Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to Reality in Western Literature (1984) is another wide-ranging study which also situates sf within the broader field of fantastic literature. --Veronica Hollinger via http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/78/hollinger78art.htm [Jun 2006]

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