Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.490670
Title: The rhetoric of the Fantastic in late-Victorian literature
Author: Pina, Gerardo
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
This thesis offers a study of a particular period (1884-1899) in Britain in which Fantastic literature revealed itself as a convergence point of multiple anxieties of late nineteenth-century society. Fantastic literature is a genre often mistaken for Gothic, Fantasy or the like, that in fact has its own particular' rhetoric and literary conventions. In this study I present some of the most important social and literary elements of the context in which Fantastic literature emerged in Britain - the conventions of Gothic literature, a short history of Spiritualism, the scientific organizations devoted to the study of paranormal phenomena, such as the Society for Psychical Research, and a brief summary of the social evolutionist ideas of Thomas Huxley and H.G. Wells. By examining the context and some representative works of Fantastic literature, like R.L. Stevenson's 'Olalla' (1884), Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Parasite' (1895), Henry James's The Turn of the Screw (1898) and H.G. Wells's When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), we get a better idea of essential characteristics of Fantastic literature, that is, of the elements within these stories that reflect some important issues of late Victorian society. One can see that the rhetoric of the Fantastic sheds light on phenomena linked with uncertainty and fear in late nineteenth-century society, such as occultism, supernatural sightings, haunted houses and spiritualism. During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries Fantastic literature has survived alongside Fantasy literature (J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings), magical realism (Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children or Garda Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude) and children's literature (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter) preserving its own identity and rhetoric. Italo Calvina's The Rampant Baron, J.L. Borges's 'The Aleph' and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle indicate that Fantastic literature still has its place in literature because it expresses a particular kind of ideas that cannot find expression in other genres. This is an analysis of those ideas through the study of some of the first Fantastic literary works written in Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.490670  DOI: Not available
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