On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre
Edited By Gerry Canavan
Considering the Sense of “Fantasy” or “Fantastic Fiction”: An Effusion*
This essay needs little if any updating, since it was written at a time when I had already waxed increasingly skeptical about the politico-epistemological presuppositions dominant in MOSF – as suggested in my preface to “SF: Metaphor, Parable, and Chronotope.” Of course, if one wanted to follow all the twists and turns of commercial publication and late imperialist ideology, its repertory would have to be updated; for example, Stephen King’s sales seem to have by 2006 reached 350 million copies. But such chronicling was never my intent; I was proposing rather a depth critique of what the title indicated: of the sense (meaning, and thus also influence) of a new congeries of literary genres – which then interact most intimately with comics, movies, TV series, and similar, not to mention our understanding of everyday lives. This congeries is reducible to a few paradigms which I analyzed as to their chronotope, agential forces, and other formal elements in relationship to the reader’s expectations and usage. Thus I have changed a handful of minor turns stylistically, but I stand by my stance and analyses of 2001 – so far as they go. But I can imagine two rather different matters of unfinished business which in an ideal world could have been additionally discussed.
First, I assume some important matters of the post-2008 galloping capitalist mass immiseration of huge majorities all over the world would deserve to be brought aboard, such as the exacerbation of militarismi and the rise...
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