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The Specificity of Fantasy
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-07, 23:57 authored by Geoff BoucherGeoff Boucher
The article introduces the topic of the specificity of fantasy by surveying the existing state of debate in the field and proposing a rationalization of classifications. The emergent consensus in studies of fantasy that it is the literature of the impossible entails a representational definition of the object domain. That implies a modal definition of the literary order, which should be included in a broader class of “literatures of the impossible” including science fiction and nonsense literature. Probing descriptions of the difference between fantasy and sci-fi, the article then challenges the negative depiction of fantasy often provided by sci-fi critics. It proposes that whereas science fiction is a lit-erature of conjectural objectivity, guided by the “cognitive novum,” fantasy is a literature of speculative subjectivity, guided by an “affective novum”.