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Grupo Legati Christi

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Tzvetan Todorov Fantastic Pdf 14 [UPD]


Todorov's greatest contribution to literary theory was his definition, in Introduction à la littérature fantastique (1970), of the Fantastic, the fantastic uncanny, and the fantastic marvelous. Todorov defines the fantastic as being any event that happens in our world that seems to be supernatural. Upon the occurrence of the event, we must decide if the event was an illusion or whether it is real and has actually taken place. Todorov uses Alvaro from Jacques Cazotte's Le Diable amoureux as an example of a fantastic event. Alvaro must decide whether the woman he is in love with is truly a woman or if she is the devil.




tzvetan todorov fantastic pdf 14



Upon choosing whether the event was real or imaginary, Todorov says that we enter into the genres of uncanny and marvelous. In the fantastic uncanny, the event that occurs is actually an illusion of some sort. The "laws of reality" remain intact and also provide a rational explanation for the fantastic event. Todorov gives examples of dreams, drugs, illusions of the senses, madness, etc. as things that could explain a fantastic/supernatural event. In the fantastic marvelous, the supernatural event that occurs has actually taken place and therefore the "laws of reality" have to be changed to explain the event. Only if the implied reader cannot opt for one or the other possibility is the text purely fantastic.


Instead of deciding between a religious or supernatural turn, for now I will simply examine how three supposedly irrational elements of contemporary fiction interrelate. The first two have been seen before: the mode of the fantastic, and an attempt to access the sublime. The third, however, is something new, something which belongs to the 21st century, which many people are calling metamodernism. I will show how these three aspects work together and mutually affirm one another, and how their combined effect is one which can best be described as the creation of a space for the sacred in secular literary culture.


What I am suggesting here is a structural similarity which explains the co-presence, in a variety of recent novels, of three historically disparate concepts. The sublime has a history stretching from antiquity to the present; metamodernism was first described in 2010. The fantastic in literature is usually dated from the 18th century, and remains alive and well in the 21st. However in The Crane Wife all three concepts are combined. The movement of the fantastic, between the real world of the text and a folkloric supernatural, functions in the same way as the metamodern movement between irony and enthusiasm. This metamodern balancing act allows for the creation of a sublime which is kept in check by the constant motion between its two extremes, unbelievably Romantic and utterly empty.


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