Literature of Fantasy and the Supernatural

(Revised Edition)
Edited by Gail Finney
©2013, 310 pages

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Literature of Fantasy and the Supernatural

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    Literature of Fantasy and the Supernatural, edited by Gail Finney, presents a diverse and colorful spectrum of supernatural phenomena—automatons, ghosts, talking animals, detached body parts with a life of their own, magical transformations, animated objects, mad scientists, and angels—offering a vivid display of the endless powers of the imagination. Although fantasy and the supernatural have been present in literature since its beginnings, in the West these themes are especially prevalent in the 19th and 20th centuries. This collection provides a comprehensive treatment of the fantastic mode during its heyday, ranging from the tales of the early 19th-century writer E.T.A. Hoffmann to the stories of the late 20th-century writer Gabriel García Márquez. The volume is comparative in nature, including authors from Germany, the United States, England, France, Argentina, and Colombia.

    The selections in this anthology are presented in their entirety rather than in excerpt. This feature, together with the chronological organization of the volume, allows undergraduate students to readily understand the ways in which the representation of fantasy and the supernatural has developed over time.

    Gail Finney (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of Comparative Literature and German at the University of California, Davis, where she teaches courses on 19th- and 20th-century European literature. Previously she taught at Harvard University. The literature of fantasy and the supernatural provides a welcome antidote to her current work on family trauma in contemporary American film. Her books include The Counterfeit Idyll: The Garden Ideal and Social Reality in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Women in Modern Drama: Freud, Feminism, and European Theater at the Turn of the Century, Look Who’s Laughing: Gender and Comedy (ed.), Christa Wolf, and Visual Culture in Twentieth-Century Germany: Text as Spectacle (ed.) In 2007 she received a Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award.
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