THURSDAY, 2 - 5:$Q P.M.
PSYCHOBIOGRAPHICAL APPROACHES TO THE FANTASTIC
Chair: Alan C. Elms, Harvard University.
Phyllis Roth, Skidmore College, New York. "Some Uses
of Psychobiographical Approaches to Fantasy: The
Cases of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Vladimir
The significance of psychobiography in literary
studies will be sketched by reference to Frankenstein, Dracula and Ada. These examples demonstrate
that psychobiography can provide both rereadings
of texts, otherwise seemingly unavailable, and an
entree to reader response. On the former point, I
will discuss what happens to readings of Frankenstein when one takes into account the death of
Mary Shelley's mother at Shelley's birth, and the
deaths of Shelley's children; rereadings of Dracula in light of Stoker's obsessive ambivalence
toward women; and Nabokov's employment of fiction
to control the patterns of a world and a life. On
the latter point, I will suggest ways in which a
psychobiographical approach may provide a bridge
between authors' management of fantasies and
Alan C. Elms, Harvard University. "The Creation of
A work of artistic fantasy may serve one or more
psychological functions for its creator. It may
simply express aspects of the artist's personality. It may be used defensively to control unacceptable impulses or to ease the pain of unresolved intrapsychic conflicts. Or it may
function restitutively as the artist overcomes and
moves beyond such conflicts. Paul Linebarger's
fiction appears to have served the latter function
for him, assisted by psychotherapeutic treatment.
Evidence for his psychological development will be
examined in his realistic mainstream novels and in
the science fiction stories he wrote under the
pseudonym of Cordwainer smith.
LITERATURE OF SUBVERSION Is THE FANTASTIC AND THE
FAIRY TALE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Chair: Gary K. Wolfe, Roosevelt University.
John Wenke, Marquette University. "Melville's Mardi:
The Fabulous as Psychological and Political
In his "Preface" to Mardi, Melville responds to
incredulous criticism of his earlier travel books
by proclaiming his intention to publish a work of
fabulation and romance. Sustaining his narrative
by means of intellectual preoccupations and a
copious display of invention, Melville employs the
genre of the fantastic to construct symbolic
projections of imbalances within self and state.
Catherine McClenahan, Marquette University. "Uses of
the Fantastic: England 1790-1850."
By the second half of the eighteenth century, the
fantastic is being used to escape from or
criticize the deficiencies of the existing order
of things. Among the Romantic poets, Blake makes
the most radical use of the fantastic, undermining
the division of "phantasy" and "reality" and
exploring the relations between imagination and
desire. In the mainstreams of both poetry and the
novel, however, the fantastic tends toward what
Blake would call "spectrous" rather than fully
creative imagination: nostalgia (for the ancient
or medieval past) or anxiety (the gothic). Even
so, the fantastic's growing influence allows wider
access to the writing of literature and articulates a wide variety of discontents.
Gary K. Wolfe, Roosevelt University. "The Romantic
Fairy Tale and Modern Fantasy."
The development of the literary adult fairy tale
in the early nineteenth century, especially in
Germany, gave rise to many of the conventions and
attitudes that have since entered modern fantasy
by way of the Victorians. Both in terms of narrative technique and psychological concerns, such
authors as Tieck, Novalis, and Hoffmann exerted a
significant influence on the generation of fantastic writers which was to follow in England.
REALITY VERSUS FANTASIA IN CALVTNO
Chair: Constance Markey, Loyola University, Chicago.
Kathryn Hume, Pennsylvania State University. "Man,
Fantasy, and Reality in Calvino's Cosmicomical
Calvino creates new "myths" that assert a bearable
relationship between man and the universe without
having to build from unscientific premises.
Through his myths' redundancies, their characteristic binary oppositions, and their mediations,
Calvino describes ways man can establish a sense
of meaning: attraction, antagonism, creativity,
and vision. Transformation and novelty are the
values that permit his myths to handle questions
of death, meaning, apocalypse. Fantasy also ornaments and illustrates his argument that we must
augment scientific cause-and-effect thinking with
associative, metaphoric thinking. Science turns
us out from ourselves toward reality; fantsy helps
us to integrate ourselves with what we see.
Carolyn Springer, Rutgers University. "The Favola
Moderna of Marcovaldo."
Calvino's portrait of Marcovaldo, the simple
worker from the provinces who has immigrated to
the modern industrial city, has less in common
with postwar neorealism than with Calvino's own
peculair favolistic style, alternating close description, characterization, and narrative with
the hyperbolic, hallucinatory, and absurd. This
paper examines the mixture of styles which characterize the "favola moderna" of Marcovaldo, making
it in Calvino's own words a "divagazione comico-
melanconica in margine al neorealismo."
Anca Vlasopolos, Wayne State University. "Love and the
Fantastic in Calvino."
Calvino's universe in Cosmicomics is subject to
laws of expansion and retraction that are governed