Subversive Fantasy

  • Colin Manlove


Modern fantasy is inherently subversive in its violation of what we call possibility: earlier fantasy less so, because then that possibility included the supernatural, and the world was less known. In our more ‘scientific’ world, if a story shows us a carpet flying or a fairy starting out of the ground, we put them in a mental zoo: we like to look at them, but we feel they are no conceivable part of our experience. But the very size to which that fictional zoo has grown since about 1750 challenges that view: fantasy, it would appear, fills a need that is not satisfied by the prevailing realistic genres. Such fantasy now speaks to an area of mind that is the opposite of ‘rational’ or ‘conscious’ or ‘realistic’; and, being so opposed, it is at least implicitly subversive.


Romantic Poet Modem World Unnatural Victory Science Fiction Writer Bourgeois State 
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Copyright information

© Colin Manlove 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Manlove
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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