, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 367-384
Date: 15 Jan 2008

Subversion or Oxymoron?: Fantastic Literature and the Metaphysics of the Object

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Abstract

Many of the classical readings of fantastic literature, such as Todorov’s, Jackson’s or Bellemin-Noël’s emphasize the subversive or irrational component of it. Although studies on its mimetic component exist as well, they have not pursued to the end the logical conclusions of the interaction between both fields. Through a typology of objects as they appear in fantastic fiction, and the study of their ontology, this article attempts to show how realistic view is not only a foundational base of fantastic discourse but it also proves what this discourse is claimed to question, i.e. the vindication of metaphysical consistency of reality. Using examples from Spanish and other linguistic traditions, the conclusion is reached that fantastic literature is oxymoronic by essence, and only subversive or dissident a posteriori, i.e. after obeying the conscious intentions of the writer.

The original version of this article was written in Spanish, but later translated into English at the suggestion of the editors of this journal. That is why most of the authors and examples used to illustrate its propositions come from Spanish and Latin American writers. The titles and quotes by other authors are cited in their original languages. This article is an extended version of a paper read at the “V Coloquio Internacional de Literatura Fantástica”, held at Texas A & M International University, in Laredo, Texas, in October of 2005. I want to thank the organizers, especially Ana M. Morales, for their encouragement and comments regarding my presentation. The co-authors of this translation are José M. Martínez and Ethan Sharp.
Please contact the author for information about the Spanish version of this paper.