Sunday 24 April 2011

Classics of Fantastic Fiction

Definition ( 'Fantastic' literature)

"What is distinctive about the fantastique is the intrusion of supernatural phenomena into an otherwise realist narrative. It evokes phenomena which are not only left unexplained but which are inexplicable from the reader's point of view. In this respect, the fantastique is somewhere between fantasy, where the supernatural is accepted and entirely reasonable in the imaginary world of a non-realist narrative, and magic realism, where apparently supernatural phenomena are explained and accepted as normal. Instead, characters in a work of fantastique are, just like the readers, unwilling to accept the supernatural events that occur. This refusal may be mixed with doubt, disbelief, fear, or some combination of those reactions."

Alfred Kubin : The Other Side


[[posterous-content:pid___1]]images - Alfred Kubin

The Other Side tells of the decision by an aging artist and his wife to accept an invitation to pack up and move to the mysterious Utopian city of Perla (the pearl); a land presided over by the enigmatic figure of Klaus Patera. It soon unfolds that all is not quite right in paradise.

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa : Jan Potocki[[posterous-content:pid___2]]

[[posterous-content:pid___3]]images - Francisco Goya + stills from the movie 'The Saragossa Manuscript'

"The Manuscript Found in Saragossa collects intertwining stories, all of them set in whole or in part in Spain, with a large and colorful cast of Gypsies, thieves, inquisitors, a cabbalist, a geometer, the cabbalist's beautiful sister, two Moorish princesses (Emina and Zibelda), and others that the brave, perhaps foolhardy, Walloon Guard Alphonse van Worden meets, imagines or reads about in theSierra Morena mountains of 18th-century Spain while en route to Madrid. Recounted to the narrator over the course of sixty-six days, the novel's stories quickly overshadow van Worden's frame story. The bulk of the stories revolve around the Gypsy chief Avadoro, whose story becomes a frame story itself. Eventually the narrative focus moves again toward van Worden's frame story and a conspiracy involving an underground — or perhaps entirely hallucinated — Muslim society, revealing the connections and correspondences between the hundred or so stories told over the novel's sixty-six days." Wikipedia -

The Metamorphosis : Franz Kafka


[[posterous-content:pid___5]]images - Odilon Redon + Robert Crumb

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were, armor-plated back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes." Kafka

The Gormenghast Trilogy : Mervyn Peake


images - Mervyn Peake

"A doomed lord, an emergent hero, and a dazzling array of bizarre creatures inhabit the magical world of the Gormenghast novels which, along with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, reign as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of it all is the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom, unless the conniving Steerpike, who is determined to rise above his menial position and control the House of Groan, has his way."

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha : Miguel de Cervantes


[[posterous-content:pid___9]]images - Gustave Dore

Engrossed by his books of courtly chivalry and forgetting to eat or sleep, in a glorious fog of confusion, the elderly Don Quixote sets off on his epic quest as a knight errant destined to battle brigands and beasts and claim the hand of the fair Dulcinea


The Golem : Gustav Meyrink

[[posterous-content:pid___10]][[posterous-content:pid___11]]images - Hugo Steiner Prag

Set within the ghetto of Prague, the Golem is a dark, weaving tale of hypnagogic ambience, concerning the gem-cutter Pernath and his investigations into a strange menacing presence that haunts the foreboding streets every thirty three years.

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