Tzvetan Toderovs Theorie der fantastischen Literatur (German Edition)

H. P. Lovecraft and the Literature of the Fantastic: Explorations in a Literary Genre
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click to see more By making him a feature of the genre and excluding all texts whose author actually believes in the truth of the supernatural events related therein, it is intended to set the fantastic apart from non-fantastic texts, such as religious writings. Other than criteria outside the narrative, maximalistic definitions also often refer to the supposedly typical themes of fantastic literature as a distinctive feature.

In conclusion, the problem with all maximalistic approaches to defining the fantastic — the ahistorical as well as the historical ones — is that they all group together an excessively large number of texts that are sometimes quite different from each other, and do not make any further differentiations within that group. Or, as Uwe Durst put it: Since I will come to that later in this paper see chapter 4.

It consists of ten chapters: The Dawn of the Horror-Tale, 3. The Early Gothic Novel, 4. The Apex of Gothic Fiction, 5. The Aftermath of Gothic Fiction, 6.

Spectral Literature on the Continent, 7. Edgar Allan Poe, 8. The Weird Tradition in America, 9. The Weird Tradition in the British Isles, and Whereas the second to tenth chapters are mainly a discourse on various phases of fantastic literature in chronological order, along with a discussion of various representative authors and their work it is noteworthy that Poe, whom Lovecraft greatly admired and was also heavily influenced by, is the only writer honored with an individual chapter , it is in the introduction that Lovecraft points out his conception of fantastic literature:.

And of course, the more completely and unifiedly a story conveys this atmosphere, the better it is as a work of art in the given medium.

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It should be mentioned, however, that this psychological viewpoint has been fiercely attacked by many minimalistic theoreticians, stating that such considerations could not be taken as a serious attempt at differentiating the fantastic from other literary genres: The second example for a maximalistic concept of fantastic literature I will briefly discuss in this place is Florian F. Marzin sees the fantastic as a literary genre marked by two spheres of narrative action Handlungskreise. The first sphere is identical to the one we find in all sorts of non-fantastic literary texts and stands for the empirically tangible world empirisch erfahrbare Welt , i.

This first sphere constitutes the foundation for the emergence of the fantastic. The second sphere is determined by irrational events Welt des Irrationalen , and its phenomena are in direct contradiction to the scientific principles of the rational, empirical world of the first sphere cf. However, it is not enough for the two spheres to simply exist side by side within a narrative; the structure of fantastic literature is a result of the interdependence, or overlapping, of the two spheres of narrative action cf.

Only when the spheres overlap can the individual elements of one sphere influence the other. The sequence, extent, or relative importance of the elements of the respective spheres is not an essential feature in this context.

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The interdependence of the two spheres of narrative action source: He even goes so far as to plainly deny the existence of texts in which the ambiguity is sustained until the very end, i. Marzin claims that such a text would indeed constitute an extraordinarily special case for which he, even after diligently surveying numerous works, had not been able to find even a single specimen cf. Maximalistic definitions of the fantastic are not always very helpful because they usually group together an exceedingly large number of texts that are often considerably different from each other.

Minimalistic definitions, while reducing the catalogue of fantastic texts to a relatively small number, are overly restrictive in that they inevitably exclude many texts that have always been discussed as fantastic literature, and it simply feels wrong to leave them out. It seems as if the only thing most theories agree upon is that the fantastic is an independent literary genre distinguished from neighboring genres by the way it links together two different layers of reality, namely a normal, empirical reality and a counter-empirical, supernatural reality cf.

So far, this dilemma has not been solved.

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When we look at the research that has been done on the subject right up to the present day, we find nothing more than the — mostly divergent — individual opinions of numerous scholars. When were the beginnings of American literature? This plain question is surprisingly difficult to answer, as there are various possibilities of determining the starting point of literary production in America.

One could say that American literature began with the first written records cave paintings etc. It could also have begun with the discovery though it was really more of a rediscovery of America by Columbus in It might have started in , when Jamestown, Virginia, was founded as the first English settlement on the continent. It might have begun with the landing of the Mayflower and the founding of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in Another possible starting point is the Declaration of Independence in Finally, one could argue that the starting point of American literature was the inauguration of George Washington as the first president of the United States of America in All of these approaches are valid, and arguments can be found to support each of them.

Anyway, assuming that there was no such thing as American literature before the thirteen colonies on the Atlantic united to become an independent nation, one could say that the fantastic has played an absolutely central role in American literature right from the start. After all, the beginnings of American literature and the heyday of the Gothic novel would then roughly fall in the same period, and American authors in the early days were naturally still heavily influenced by their European particularly English role models.

Martin and Savoy , p. It is only fitting in this context that the very first professional novelist in the United States, Charles Brockden Brown , primarily wrote Gothic novels in the vein of Ann Radcliffe, the best-known perhaps being Wieland; or, the Transformation , Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker , and Arthur Mervyn; or, Memoirs of the Year Based on these novels, Brown is rightfully regarded as a key figure in the tradition of Gothic fiction. In its European form, the Gothic mainly featured imagery that was simply non-existent, and therefore symbolically ineffective, in America ruined castles etc.

Although the fantastic in America does not exist apart from its specific regional manifestations, its origins naturally lie in New England, which has by far the longest and most colorful fantastic tradition of all. It is not by coincidence that many of the most renowned American writers of fantastic fiction were New Englanders — including Irving, Hawthorne, Poe though he spent much of his life elsewhere , and Lovecraft —, and best-selling novelist Stephen King upholds this remarkable tradition until the present day.

That being said, it is inevitable that a look at the fantastic tradition in America is primarily a look at the fantastic tradition in New England. One of the most important sources that inspired fantastic literature in New England were of course the tales the first European settlers brought with them from the Old World. Among the myths brought to New England by the first settlers is that of gigantic sea monsters inhabiting the Atlantic and attacking unsuspecting sailing ships.

As early as in the days of medieval sea travel, monsters of the sea were dreaded as one of the known hazards of navigation on the Atlantic Ocean. The maps used by the earliest explorers of the North American continent likewise depicted ocean serpents, giant octopuses, or sea dragons assaulting desperate mariners. These drawings were by no means merely ornamental, but instead marked the sites where sailors might expect to encounter such monsters.

It was only by the eighteenth century that these drawings evolved into the ornamental dragons often found in the corners of naval charts. It should also be noted in this context that literary descriptions of the nature of sea monsters, allegedly based on eyewitness accounts, were quite popular throughout the seventeenth century. Such accounts would usually describe sea monsters as black, with sharp scales and flaming eyes, and with long hair hanging from their necks cf.

English - History of Literature, Eras. English Language and Literature Studies - Literature. English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics.

American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography. English - Literature, Works. When we witness what The Doctor fights against, we German-language research on non-mimetic forms to use a somewhat deduce what it is that he upholds. Especially in literary studies, popular genres like science fiction, fantasy, impose it upon others. By fighting this type of force, The Doctor shows that and horror were often treated as escapist trash and thus not worthy of seri- he values free will.

Although the valuing of free will seems to be a neat tie-in ous study. This may seem rather odd given the fact that the German drama to humanism, Layton does not blatantly make this connection. Nor does he par excellence, Goethe's Faust, boasts plenty of "non-realistic" events.

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There link the importance of choice to the valuing of free will; rather, the chapter are also the Romantics with protagonists such as the Brothers Grimm or E. Hoffmann who were very much interested in non-realistic literature. The academic Ultimately, the uneven analysis and tone of this book make it difficult to situation definitely has improved during the last decades, but science fiction, determine the appropriate readership for this book.

Layton seems to define fantasy, et al. The his audience in the preface when he describes how his book differs from other lack of academic interest may also partly be due to the fact that these genres publications concerning Doctor Who, claiming, "No book-length work on never were that popular to begin with; while there have always been all kind Doctor Who has yet delved into the philosophical and thematic content of the of pulp publications-the science fiction series Perry Rhodan holds a record for program We might deduce a Tolkien nor an Asimov or Heinlein.

It also seems that Layton does not mean published in German. Yet oddly, for a text cal base. The bone of contention is the term "Fantastik" alternatively also apparently intended for an academic and philosophically minded audience, spelled with "ph".

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This at first led me to H. Part of the pronoun, perhaps, contains the authorial gesture with which the sovereign subject of the narrative asserts itself. This anticipatory function is supported not least by the fact that —————————————— 4 Flaubert They know the headmaster well, so, after he is identified as such, they do not find it necessary to register any further details about him. The fragility of the postulate in question is revealed by precisely this consequence of suspending, by means of systeminternal conclusiveness, the possibility of scrutiny.

In everyday language, "Fantastik"r its adjective "fan- The Humanism of Doctor Who does not take any philosophical knowledge tastisch"-is used as an umbrella term for all non-realistic genres, more or less for granted in its readers. Layton often mentions basic facts that ought to be corresponding to the way it is used by the IAFA.

The theoretical discourse common knowledge among his professed target audience; for example, he on the other hand was heavily influenced by Tzvetan Todorov's famous study introduces Kant as "Immanuel Kant, one of the central philosophers in the Introduction a la litterature fantastique His structuralist model sees the history of philosophy," which, apart from being oddly redundant, seems to genre's defining factor in the hesitation between two opposing explanations assume that his readers have not come into contact with the name before Though Layton makes many worthwhile this is probably partly due to the different ways French structuralism in gen- observations regarding the humanistic implications of Doctor Who, the vast eral was received in the two academic communities and partly because the ' majority of his examples are just that: Perhaps it is up to other scholars to elaborate where Layton seems Definitions and theorizing have always been much more popular in satisfied to break off.

German-speaking research than in Anglo-American academia. A big part l 1 of the research into the fantastic of the last 40 years can be summarized as L. Some observations in this chapter are indeed essential. Abraham rightly model, and over the question of what the fantastic actually is. While there have notes that even so-called realistic literature is never a faithful reproduction been various clever and enlightening additions, modifications and rebuttals to of reality but rather a construction following conventions. Diese Hausarbeit ist eine kritische. Diese Hausarbeit ist eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der haufig unter Beschuss geratenen Definition des Fantastischen von Tzvetan Todorov.

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Was sie nicht leisten kann, ist einen Uberblick uber die Fulle an anderen Definitionen zu dieser Gattung zu geben oder gar einen eigene Definition zu formulieren. Stattdessen sollen sowohl die Aussagen Todorovs als auch die Argumente seiner Kritiker und Befurworter kritisch beleuchtet werden. Es ist daher unumganglich seine Theorie kurz zu umreissen. Die Zusammenfassung beschrankt sich dabei auf die grundlegenden Aussagen und stellt diese im Zusammenhang dar, um spater detailliert auf die Starken und Schwachen der Definition naher eingehen zu konnen.!

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