Friday, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
of his most acute critics. Indeed, certain verbal
signs seem to have been planted deliberately by
Poe to indicate that the tale has an allegorical
level. Closer reading, however, suggests that the
Red Death, unquestionably a masterpiece of
"effect," is also a serious hoax: for when the
signs laid by the "allegorist" are followed, the
would-be exegete discovers that the apparent
allegorical interpretation evaporates before his
Peter Cersowsky, Wurzburg, West Germany. "Variants of
Fantastic Poetry: E. A. Poe and Georg Trakl
The lack of convincing answers to the question
whether the fantastic can occur in poetry is due
to the ahistorical character of most genre definitions. One concept of fantastic poetry is, in
fact, exemplified by Poe. This paper focuses on
Poe's own understanding of the term "fantastic" as
part of a dualistic structure with particular
reference to his poem "The Haunted Palace." Poe's
concept turns out to be an important influence on
the poetry of Georg Trakl. Trakl adopts what is
"fantastic" in Poe's eyes without maintaining the
dualism. Instead, the fantastic is made the sole
dimension of his poetry.
Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet, Eastern Kentucky University. "The Tale of the Fortunate Fall."
In this work of "fictional criticism," a
Dupinesque character provides a solution to the
mystery of Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher."
MOTIFS AND STRUCTURES OF HIGHER STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Chair: Ralph Yarrow, University of East Anglia.
John H. Flodstrom, University of Louisville. "How will
we know when the dreaming ends?"
Stanislaw Lem's novel The Futurological Congress
raises the question whether there is any adequate
way to distinguish one state of consciousness from
another. The novel's hero can find no criterion
that is capable of guaranteeing that he is awake
rather than dreaming. The description of a peculiar conscious state experienced by the novel's
hero contradicts Lem's own materialist account of
intelligence, showing that a different explanation
is needed. It is suggested, on the basis of recent
psychological and neurophysiological research,
that the ability to assess reality satisfactorily
demands an adequate account of the higher states
Herbert Marder, University of Illinois. "Borderline
Fantasies: The Two Worlds of Briefing for a
Descent into Hell.
Doris Lessing's Briefing for a Descent into Hell
is a borderline fantasy — that is, a story in
which the boundaries between ordinary and estranged realities are deliberately obscured. The
ambiguity of the narrative throws our epistemolog-
ical assumptions into relief and permits the
writer to challenge received ideas about causal
relationships and historical order. The mythic
voyager (Watkins' fantastic alter ego) re-enacts
the evolution of species and human societies in
his own progress toward a higher state of consciousness. He attempts to reconcile cosmic and
mundane realities, although his human limitations
are too great to permit the final incorporation of
what he has learned. Nevertheless, the reader is
impelled to participate in the voyager's mythical
thinking, and to consider the holistic fantasy as
a viable complement to the linear and rational
viewpoint represented by Doctors X and Y.
Peter Malekin, University of Durham, England. "Tempest
in the Mind."
Using the model of the mind developed in "The Art
of Consciousness," Shakespeare's The Tempest is
shown to exploit the practical potentialities of
the stage to modify the audience's awareness and
orientation to the world: the mind breaks free of
the limits of ordinary consciousness; then fantastic becomes the inevitable. In this respect Shakespeare is the first of the moderns, a contemporary
writer: the techniques of The Tempest and of
Harlan Ellison's "The Whimper of Whipped Dogs" are
compared and distinguished.
TIME TRAVEL TO THE PAST
Chair: Bud Foote, Georgia Tech.
David Leon Higdon, Texas Tech University. "The Past
Was Safe: Time Travel in Brian Aldiss' Fiction."
Despite the paradoxes posed, Brian Aldiss has
repeatedly transported his characters into the
past. Aldiss is not only self-consciously rebelling against the conventions of travel into the
future established by HjG. Wells and others, he is
writing "counterbooks," a type of literary alternative world which redacts and reinterprets the
earlier work — what Aldiss has himself called
"exegetical novels." Time travel to the past, so
evident in the works of Brian Aldiss, Michael
Moorcock, and even Brian Moore, is part of a
larger literary movement gradually reassessing the
uses of and the need for the past. An important
science-fiction convention, the anxiety of influence, and a cultural direction thus merge in
Jdta Franklin Miller III, North Texas State University.
"A Theoretical Basis for Travel into the Past."
Can we travel into the past? Of course. We do it
daily. How? By memory! But we can travel into a
more distant past through methods which link us to
our reincarnational past, by "extended memory" or
tuning in to the Cosmic Mind, or through telepathic attunement to others' pasts. Where is the
past? In the Eternal Now of the Consciousness of
the Divine. Three metaphors are offered to
clarify the possibility of time travel: consciousness of time as the "inside" if space; consciousness of time as Light; and past/present/future as
Eternally Present in the Mind of God.
Rand Bohrer, Georgia Tech, with Marc Goodman. "Travel
to Other Microworlds (Elsewhere and Elsewhen) via