Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre, trans. Richard Howard (London: Case Western Reserve University, 1973).

[His definition of the word fantastic:]
‘In a world which is indeed our world, the one we know, a world without devils, sylphides, or vampires, there occurs an event which cannot be explained by the laws of this same familiar world. The person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either he is the victim of an illusion of the senses, of a product of the imagination – and laws of the world then remain what they are; or else the event has indeed taken place, it is an integral part of reality – but then this reality is controlled by laws unknown to us … The fantastic occupies the duration of uncertainty. Once we choose one answer or the other, we leave the fantastic for a neighbouring genre, the uncanny or the marvellous.’ (p.25.)
 
Quoted in Jarlath Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic: A Theoretical Introduction’, in The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, 1, Oct. 2006 [online; 21.11.2007].)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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