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.
KeywordsVortex Corn Mercury Europe Amid
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 3.Claude Rawson, ed., English Satire and the Satiric Tradition (Blackwell, 1984), p. viii.Google Scholar
- 7.See Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (HarperCollins, 1994), pp. 83–5, 158–70, 304–18.Google Scholar
- 9.Repr. in Nina Auerbach and U. C. Knoepflmacher, eds, Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992 ). This work makes a (strained) case for subversiveness being marked in Victorian children’s fairy-tales by women.Google Scholar
- 12.David Garnett, Lady into Fox and A Man in the Zoo (Hogarth Press, 1985), p. 85.Google Scholar
- 14.David Callard, The Case of Anna Kavan: A Biography (Peter Owen, 1992), passimGoogle Scholar
- 16.John Fowles, The Magus (Pan, 1988), pp. 105–6.Google Scholar
- 17.Angela Carter, ‘Notes from the Front Line’, in Micheline Wandor, ed., On Gender and Writing (Pandora, 1983 ), pp. 72–3.Google Scholar
- 18.Carter, The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr Hoffman ( Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982 ), p. 18.Google Scholar
- 20.Josephine Saxton, The Travails of Jane Saint and Other Stories (Women’s Press, 1986), p. 9.Google Scholar
- 22.Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry (Vintage, 1996), pp. 17–18.Google Scholar
- 24.Robert Irwin, The Arabian Nightmare ( Sawtry, Cambs.: Dedalus, 1992 ), p. 121.Google Scholar
- 25.Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993), p. 5. See also p. 205, where in detail he likens the design of a church to that of a fiction.Google Scholar