Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy

Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy

Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy

Ellipse of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Postmodern Fantasy

Synopsis

This fascinating study of literary theory is the first work of its kind to examine the intersection of fantasy and postmodernism, and to analyze contemporary fantasy writers comparatively. After carefully developing working definitions of postmodernism and fantasy, the author goes on to analyze works by various postmodernist fantasy writers. Olsen's approach is eclectic, bringing to each text or textual complex those forces he feels most interestingly stir up its sediment--be they biographical, structural, psychoanalytic, philosophical, reader-response, or otherwise.

Excerpt

Yes, even then, when already all was fading, waves and particles, there could be no things but nameless things, no names but thingless names.

Beckett (Molloy, 31)

Suggesting that what Alain Robbe-Grillet somewhat misleadingly calls the Balzacian mode of fiction (a mode primarily interested in content; the communal; the psychological; the chronological; the fully rounded character; the mimetic--a mode, in other words, firmly grounded in "the world") is dead seems a little like suggesting there are no such things as UFOs. As much as one would like to believe or not in such charming and marvelous ideas, the fact remains that the National Enquirer and the U.S. Air Force report and catalog sightings continually. Competent writers working under realist, naturalist, and even modernist assumptions are presently alive, well, popular, and often financially successful, and their fiction, as Fredric Jameson points out, "persuades us in a concrete fashion that human actions, human life is somehow a complete, interlocking whole, a single, formed, meaningful substance. . . . Our satisfaction with the completeness of plot is therefore a kind of satisfaction with society as well" (12).

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