The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre

Tzvetan Todorov Richard Howard Robert Scholes / Aug 22, 2019

The Fantastic A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre In The Fantastic Tzvetan Todorov seeks to examine both generic theory and a particular genre moving back and forth between a poetics of the fantastic itself and a metapoetics or theory of theorizing

  • Title: The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre
  • Author: Tzvetan Todorov Richard Howard Robert Scholes
  • ISBN: 9780801491467
  • Page: 298
  • Format: Paperback
  • In The Fantastic, Tzvetan Todorov seeks to examine both generic theory and a particular genre, moving back and forth between a poetics of the fantastic itself and a metapoetics or theory of theorizing, even as he suggest that one must, as a critic, move back and forth between theory and history, between idea and fact His work on the fantastic is indeed about a historicalIn The Fantastic, Tzvetan Todorov seeks to examine both generic theory and a particular genre, moving back and forth between a poetics of the fantastic itself and a metapoetics or theory of theorizing, even as he suggest that one must, as a critic, move back and forth between theory and history, between idea and fact His work on the fantastic is indeed about a historical phenomenon that we recognize, about specific works that we may read, but it is also about the use and abuse of generic theory.As an essay in fictional poetics, The Fantastic is consciously structuralist in its approach to the generic subject Todorov seeks linguistic bases for the structural features he notes in a variety of fantastic texts, including Potocki s The Sargasso Manuscript, Nerval s Aur lia, Balzac s The Magic Skin, the Arabian Nights, Cazotte s Le Diable Amoureux, Kafka s The Metamorphosis, and tales by E T A Hoffman, Charles Perrault, Guy de Maupassant, Nicolai Gogol, and Edgar A Poe.

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    About "Tzvetan Todorov Richard Howard Robert Scholes"

      • Tzvetan Todorov Richard Howard Robert Scholes

        In Bulgarian Todorov was a Franco Bulgarian historian, philosopher and literary theoretician Among his most influential works is his theory on the fantastic, the uncanny and marvellous.


    865 Comments

    1. Fun With Genres, a video in which I discuss this book.One of the finest and clearest works of literary criticism I have ever read. A blueprint suggesting how to approach genres, impossible to ignore whether you agree with Todorov's methodology or not. Also great fun to readers outside academia (!).


    2. Brevi accenni su ciò che potrete trovare in questo testo molto interessante, che consiglio a tutti di leggere. Prima o poi.Todorov nasce a Sofia, nel 1939, ed è morto da pochissimo, nel febbraio 2017, a Parigi. Il suo nome è legato allo strutturalismo francese perché lui negli anni ’60 si è trasferito a Parigi ed è stato allievo di Roland Barthes. La critica strutturalista si sviluppa in Francia, a Parigi, come nuova critica in opposizione alla critica di stampo storicistico che si prati [...]


    3. NOTE: This review first appeared at The King of Elfland's 2nd Cousin on January 3rd, 2012. If you enjoy it, you'll find more stuff like it there!Happy New Year! Now that the formalities are out of the way, I thought I'd take a few moments to share with you what I did between Christmas and New Year's: In addition to remodeling our library, and turning our dining room into a library annex, I also spent the week slowly and carefully reading Tzvetan Todorov's classic book of genre criticism, appropr [...]


    4. This book came to me highly recommended by a friend of the uncanny, and has truly become one of my most trusted reach-to favorites. You know that ailment that's been bugging you, but you didn't have the name for it and didn't know how a bunch of symptoms were actually related until you went and saw a specialist? Todorov's structuralist breakdown of the marvelous, the fantastic, and the uncanny--with the fantastic mediating in the middle through uncertainty--was the holy grail of aha! moments for [...]


    5. A frustrating read. Very few parallels are drawn to the fantastic genre and Todorov's rather simple theory is hidden beneath a mountain of academics. Still - most chapters are very good while a few (like chapter VIII) are almost unreadable.


    6. Todorov's comprehensive report on the definition of fantastic literature wrapped in an exhaustive introduction to structuralist narratology is a classic example of structuralist finickiness producing interesting theory of limited practical use. The concepts he introduces are entertaining exercises in mental athletics: In order to qualify as genuine fantastic literature a text has to be right on the edge between the real and imaginary world. The hint of the supernatural and marvelous has to be be [...]


    7. One of the more amazing works on the fantastic in literature, and an excellent entry point into narratological analysis! Thoroughly enjoyable reading.


    8. Todorov takes on a double task within this text, to both explore the generic structures of the fantastic, and to challenge previous interpretations of genre, viz. Northrop Frye, in order to develop a structural interpretation of genre and literature. In doing so, he attempts to move away from a static understanding of genre built off of non-literary categories, to produce a dynamic understanding of the structures of literature that builds a vocabulary from its internal dynamics. This itself draw [...]


    9. This is one of the classic academic books on the subject. While it focuses on a small slice of the genre of speculative fiction (Todorov defines the fantastic as a kind of hesitation between deciding whether a supernatural event is real or imagined, rather than uncanny where the event turns out to have a "real world" explanation, or the marvelous, where the supernatural event has a supernatural explanation), there are many points about the genre that carry over into the greater category.He also [...]


    10. An analytical view of the fantastic and its contribution to literature as a whole. I find this book delightfully philosophical about my favorite topic: literature. Todorov's theories about defining the fantastic are direct, correct, and applicable. Sometimes I read things on literary analysis, and I wonder why it matters, but, for some reason, I was completely drawn into Todorov's arguments and never once questioned why I couldn't just enjoy a book for what it's worth and move on. He inspired an [...]


    11. Es uno de los libros sobre teoría literaria que más me gustan, plantea los temas y estrategias fundamentales de la narración fantástica, además hace una interesante diferenciación entre lo fantástico, la fantasía y lo maravilloso. Todorov fija las bases sobre las que, hasta el día de hoy, se apoyan o remiten los estudios sobre este subgénero.


    12. Eu me sinto mais burro depois de ter lido este livro do Todorov. Eu devia imaginar que a leitura seria arrastada como foi A Conquista da América. O livro me ajudou a pensar em algumas características do estilo fantástico e do maravilhoso na literatura. Mas, de fato, não é uma leitura para qualquer um. Não recomendo para iniciantes.


    13. Es evidente que para leer literatura fantástica no es necesario conocer este libro, sin embargo, su lectura y análisis te encamina a cualquier amante del género del imaginario hacia una estructura profunda del relato fantástico. Un ensayo ameno y completo.




    14. Pendant que je lisais cet ouvrage j'ai jeté un coup d'oeil aux critiques de qui viennent majoritairement d'anglosaxons et j'étais très étonnée de ce qui me semble une mauvaise compréhension de ce travail, non seulement parce que beaucoup semblent ignorer le genre du fantastique ou que beaucoup n'ont pas de bases de sémiologie ainsi toute autre critique qu'une critique de classement leur semble inaccessible et c'est bien ce que je retrouve sur ce réseau quand il s'agit des romans, c'est- [...]


    15. i stopped reviewing academic books here a long time ago, for lots of different reasons, but wanted to make a note of this todorov passage just for my own personal amusement:Further: by the very fact that we must use ordinary language in order to speak of literature, we imply that literature transmits something which could be designated by other means. By if this were true, why should literature exist at all? Its only reason for being is that it says what non-literary language does not and cannot [...]


    16. Begins wonderfully, quickly loses steam. His initial definition of fantasy as a type of 'hesitation' is wonderful, (compare with Lacan's definition of the 'real' in similar terms for bonus points) but after this point is made, he clearly has little else revealing to part with on the subject. In addition, the type of fantasy literature that he discusses is clearly dated, his most recent named author being (by my guess) H.P. Lovecraft, though this is less important because his very definition of f [...]


    17. “La literatura puede existir a partir de la diferencia con el lenguaje corriente”, así capta nuestra atención este libro que nos convence de clasificar la literatura fantástica a partir de una metodología. Lo fantástico es un instante que se encuentra limitado a su derecha por lo fantástico maravilloso y a su izquierda por lo fantástico extraño, los límites son lo extraño y lo maravilloso. Lo primero recibe una explicación racional de los acontecimientos. Lo segundo es más pareci [...]


    18. A ratos maravillosamente fluido, a ratos denso, pero siempre esclarecedor. Leyéndolo entiendes mejor no sólo la literatura fantástica, sino la literatura en sí y aún más el proceso de lectura. Quizá me sobraron los trozos en los que se pone a explicar por qué los críticos anteriores no tenían razón, pero entiendo que de alguna manera hay que justificar la postura de uno. De entre mis temas favoritos está la dicotomía entre realidad y ficción y este libro realmente ahonda en esta re [...]


    19. Read it for thesis writing. I have to say that Todorov is very clever, though this book is really boring for its strong background on structuralism. However, the discussion of narratology is still worth-reading.


    20. I'm pretty sure this is the one that I read: the title in French was "introduction a la litterature fantastique". Interesting, but I didn't like the condemning tone that he applies to actual fantasy in contrast.


    21. özellikle eski fantastiğe ve fantastik kurgunun gelişimine dair çok şey öğretiyor ama gel gör ki bazen "fantastikten yıldım, bu ne eleştiri bu ne yaklaşımı öğreten dolaylı anlatım eyvahlar olsun" da diyebiliyorsunuz.



    22. This was such a good resource! I'm glad to have added it to my repertoire. I'm using it for my French capstone, and it's just as good in English as it is in French.



    23. Livro excelente para compreender as diferenças entre o fantástico, o estranho e o maravilhoso. Apesar de não estar incluído em seu texto ajuda a compreender o gênero da fantasia.



    24. This book was fine. I had to write a paper on it though, so I think I got a little too much of it. It was just ok in the end.



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