Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy

By Gary Wastfahl; George Slusser | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 5
Why the Academy Is Afraid of Dragons:
The Suppression of the Marvelous
in Theories of the Fantastic

Jonathan Langford

The last thirty years have witnessed an unprecedented validation of the fantastic as a category in literary theory. Since publication of Tzvetan Todorov's The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre in 1970, and its translation into English in 1973, many studies have sought to apply Todorov's definitions, modify them, create their own competing theories, or analyze the use of the fantastic in specific works and genres—including the Gothic, Romantic fiction, horror, postmodern fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. The fantastic is now a recognized critical term, with its own authorities, standard lines of argument, and entries in handbooks of critical terminology.

One irony in this increasing critical acceptance, however, is that although it seems to have finally created a solid theoretical base for criticism of fantasy, the overall effect has actually been to perpetuate the exclusion of certain types of the fantastic (here defined broadly as any violations of consensus reality in a literary work1) from serious critical consideration. Studies of the fantastic have tended to emphasize its disruptive, even subversive, effects on perceptions of external reality, internal psychic states, and even the status of the narrative: as the entry on the “Fantastic” in one critical dictionary states, “It is characteristic of the fantastic text that the reader is made unsure how to interpret and respond to the events narrated.”2 It follows that works in which the fantastic element fails to create a disruptive effect—including works of modern genre fantasy, fairy tales, and romances from almost every period—are classified either as “not really” fantastic (as in the reference cited, which specifies that “Works of fantasy, such as J. R. R. Tolkien's fiction and C. S. Lewis's Narnia series” fail to fall into the category of the fantastic because “The reader is invited to feel not bewilderment at but respect for the order of the 'supernatural world' 3) or as, at best, second-class members that fall short of what the fantastic is expected to accomplish. Even critics such as Eric S. Rabkin, with clear ties to modern fantasy, use definitions that valorize the disturbing cognitive effects of the fantastic, so that they must contrive expediencies to defend

-51-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Science Fiction, Canonization, Marginalization, and the Academy
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 182

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.