The examples he studies range from Grimm's fairy tales to Agatha Christie, from Childhood's End to the novels of Henry James, from Voltaire to Robbe-Grillet to A Canticle for Leiboivitz. By analyzing different works of literature, the author shows that the fantastic depends on a reversal of the ground rules of a narrative world. This reversal signals most commonly a psychological escape, often from boredom, to an unknown world secretly yearned for, whose order, although reversed, bears a precise relation to reality.
Originally published in 1976.
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