The Fantastic in Literature, Part 1

GENINT 731.478

Osher (50+). In this course, we read representative stories of the fantastic subgenre.


About this course:

A subgenre of literary works called the fantastic creates a hesitation in the reader, who must decide whether what they perceive derives from reality. Fantastic literature, different from fantasy or science fiction, lets us encounter the ordinary and the uncanny, the everyday and the marvelous simultaneously and in ways that mirror and illuminate modern experience. In this course, we read selected tales by Boccaccio and Poe, which describe the problematic presence of the divine in this world; Edwin Abbot's Flatland, a 19th-century example of the fantastic in which the reader is asked to imagine one-, two-, three-, and multi-dimensional worlds; and selections from H.G. Wells, Hoffman, and Franz Kafka, where the impossible is taken seriously. These works define moments of hesitation between belief and disbelief, giving us strangeness as a condition of life.

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