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The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Cornell Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Tsvetan Todorov , Richard Howard , Robert Scholes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 9.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Cornell Paperbacks) + Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion (New Accents) + The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; Fourth Printing edition (31 May 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801491460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801491467
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This study of literature dealing with the fantastic or supernatural explores Northrop Frye's theory of genres and the work of such writers as Poe, Balzac, Nerval, Hoffman, and James.

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"The Fantastic" is a name given to a kind of literature, to a literary genre. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Fantasy Literary Theorists 27 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Fantasy (and other fantastic genres) literary theory, is there a more cited and critical writer than Todorov? While many of his groundbreaking theories have been, now, reconsidered, rejected or reworked, his structural approach to the fantastic, in particular to do with the cognitive response to the marvelous and the uncanny, is still at the heart of fantastic genre theory. Anyone reading Attebury, Wolfe, Clute or Mendlesohn (among many others), will inevitably find themselves returning to Todorov at some point as the basis for study, even if they later move to more modern theories.

For non-research readers interested in genre theory, I am not certain how useful and understandable this book might be. It is important to be aware that many of his theories have been modified or have evolved into better structured concepts, implying that for the novice or amateur, more recent genre studies might be more helpful and appropriate. In addition, Todorov's style can be at times convoluted or needlessly complex (and despite his claim to 'structuralism', he does diverge from it). That said, his ideas still come through with surprising insight, and, as said, is invaluable to any and all genre theory researchers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Todorov is fundemental to the fantastic 11 Mar 2013
By Jon.T
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a student this book was crutual for my module "the fantastic". This book is hard to understand in some parts but if you are studying the fantastic then Tsvetan Todorov is pivotal. This book offers a good insight into the general fantastic however as Rosemary Jackson points out it lacks psychoanalysis approach to the genre which Todorov exclaims "Psychoanalysis has replaced (and thereby has made useless) the literature of the fantastic", though this is up for debate. Overall this book was very helpful and the range of topics he discusses aided me in exploring the fantastic.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Structuralist view of 'the fantastic' 30 May 2002
By Steven Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Those interested in the structuralist criticism of the 1960s-70s will find the most joy here, with Todorov applying the rigorous structuralist stance to one of literature's most fascinating genres. His demolition of Northrop Frye's approach to 'genre' in Chapter 1 is still cogent after thirty years (and an amusing read in its own right), but it's Todorov's chapters on the 'themes of the fantastic', and his conclusion on its role in literature generally, which are most compelling. This is not, however, an easy read. As Robert Scholes notes in his foreword, "neither structuralism itself nor poetics in general is noted for its ability to charm readers." You don't say. Fortunately, Todorov uses many examples from well known fantastic texts - such as 'The Arabian Nights' and the works of Edgar Alan Poe - and also from lesser known French works which will have you rushing out to the antiquarian bookstore to hunt them down. You can accept or reject the structuralist position - but if nothing else, this book will open up a whole new world of 'fantastic' novels for you to enjoy.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Todorov Means! 30 Jun 2000
By M. Wegley - Published on Amazon.com
This book is a great achievement in criticism, but one should be warned that Todorov is not talking about elves and dragons when he uses the term "Fantastic." In this book Todorov advances his definition of the fantastic as a "hesitation" or inability to decide whether events in a narrative are natural or supernatural. Thus, the book deals more with straight supernatural fiction, than with what we usually think of as "fantasy" fiction. All in all, Todorov is insightful and his book is a great companion to anyone who enjoys French, English, or American supernatural fiction.
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