The Incredible Nineteenth Century: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fairy Tale <p><strong><em>The Incredible Nineteenth Century: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fairy Tale </em>(<em>I19</em>) seeks to publish the best scholarship on the century that was, in many ways, the time period in which the modern genres of science fiction and fantasy began, and in which the academic study of fairy tale and folklore has its roots. </strong></p> <p>ISSN: Pending</p> en-US (James Hamby) (DSI) Mon, 01 May 2023 19:41:18 +0000 OJS 60 Julie L. J. Koehler, Shandi Lynne Wagner, Anne E. Duggan, and Adrion Dula’s Women Writing Wonder: An Anthology of Subversive Nineteenth-Century British, French, and German Fairy Tales <p>Popular understanding of the history of the European fairy tale begins with canonical authors like Charles Perrault (late seventeenth to early eighteenth century) and the Brothers Grimm (early nineteenth century), then proceeds to the twentieth-century Walt Disney films, and ends with feminist revisionist fairy tales written by women authors in the past fifty years. Even in fairy-tale scholarship, it has been hard to shake the narrative that male authors established the conservative fairy-tale canon and then female authors beginning in the late twentieth century subverted that canon with revisions that sought to expose and remedy the sexism of classic fairy tales. This narrative has been complicated by robust scholarship on the role of the conteuses—French women writers who were Perrault’s contemporaries and just as important as he in establishing the literary fairy tale. As a result, discussions of the role of women in the production of fairy tales have ended up jumping from the seventeenth/eighteenth-century conteuses to late-twentieth-century writers like Angela Carter, without much in between. Were women writing fairy tales during the intervening years? Women Writing Wonder answers this question with a resounding “yes.”</p> Jessica Campbell Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Heinz Tschachler’s Washington Irving and the Fantasy of Masculinity: Escaping the Woman Within <p>“Like other men who were becoming frustrated by efforts to keep up with the relentless pressure to modernize,” Heinz Tschachler contends in this study’s prologue,<br>Irving was obsessed with being a man, and, suffering from his perceived femininity,<br>throughout his career was questing for the self-image of a man whose masculinity<br>seemed secure. He finally found it in George Washington, whose image allowed him to<br>come to terms with his own purportedly ‘female’ defects, especially his shyness and<br>uncertainty. (10-11)<br>From this central idea Tschachler sets out to explore the intersection of Washington Irving’s life and his works through a psychoanalytic examination of masculinity as it appears across the author’s career, from the “troubled masculinities” of earlier texts like A History of New York<br>author’s own struggles with his “anima consciousness”—the “woman within” of the book’s subtitle and Tschachler’s Jung-inspired term for the “feminized masculinity” (8) that plagued Irving with self-doubt and insecurity much of his life. Thoroughly researched and solid as an introduction to many of the broader scholarly conversations involving Irving, Tshachler’s scholarship here offers in-depth analysis of the “jostling of ideologies of manhood in a highly conflicted emotional drama about the successful life,” both as Irving lived it and as he explored it through his writings (10-11).</p> Brian Elliot Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Brian Cowlishaw’s The Body, The Rail, and the Pen: Essays on Travel, Medicine and Technology in 19th Century British Literature <p>Brian Cowlishaw’s recent collection on science and technology in nineteenth-century literature directs the essays contained within to a readership of “non-specialists”, those who might resemble their nineteenth-century counterparts, “intellectually curious non-experts, ordinary readers who wanted to keep up with the latest developments” in “scientific writing” (2). The Rail, the Body and the Pen seeks to expand the reach of critical, scholarly writing and make exciting developments in literary research open to all who are interested. This is a noteworthy purpose, and one that reflects, I think, wider discussions throughout academia on the cultural chasm between academic and public discourse, the intellectual elitism that has excluded wider reading audiences from research writing and perpetuated the idea of the ‘ivory tower’. In order to do so, Cowlishaw promises an exploration of “how nineteenth-century technologies speak through the literature of the time and change the ambient culture” without the reader having to “trudge through field-specific or academic jargon” (1, 2). It is an ambitious aim, and one that this collection does not quite achieve. At a time when incredible advances in science and technology – including artificial intelligence, vaccinations, and space exploration – are a regular topic in everyday, popular discourse, significant connections between interested readers of contemporary developments, nineteenth century readers, and the collection’s own readership could have been made. As the editor sets up his purpose for the book, this comparison between readership and the continuing trends in popular scientific writing could demonstrate the relevance this type of literary research has for everyone, not just academics.</p> Alicia Barnes Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Anna Neill’s Human Evolution and Fantastic Victorian Fiction <p>Situating itself amidst a legacy of titles that have made significant contributions to the field of Darwinism in literature, spanning across classics like Gillian Beer’s Darwin’s Plots (1983) as well as Stephen Jay Gould’s Ever Since Darwin (1977) and The Panda’s Thumb (1980), Anna Neill’s latest publication explores the intersectionalities between nineteenth-century British sf and the racist temporalities of Victorian evolutionary anthropology. In her interpretations of “fantastic” Victorian and Edwardian fictions, Neill analyzes anthropological ideas about race, culture, and species difference through her reading of a variety of literary forms: utopia, dystopia, nonsense, Gothic horror, and the peculiar hybrid forms of the modern fairy tale or children’s fable. Strange twists of plot in such tales determine evolutionary fortunes or imaginatively manipulate deep antiquity as well as the distant future.</p> Shantanu Majee Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Michelle Brittany and Nicholas Diak’s Horror Literature from Gothic to Postmodern: Critical Essays <p>Horror Literature from Gothic to Postmodern is a collection of essays which began as conference papers from the 2017 and 2018 meetings of the Anne Radcliffe Academic Conference. The editors, Brittany Michelle and Nicholas Diak, are both creative writers and editors for McFarland who co-host the conference. The book includes essays on horror literature ranging from early British Gothic to contemporary postmodern horror. As Lisa Morton’s foreword makes clear, the book is meant to answer questions such as what horror literature’s ancestral line is and which major works of Gothic led to horror (1). This is all framed as an attempt to justify the academic study of horror. Morton ties horror to genre studies more broadly, citing Daniel Chandler’s argument that genre studies reveal cultural values when examined in their contexts—a commonplace argument in Gothic and horror studies since at least Teresa A. Goddu’s 1997 book Gothic America. It is a bit odd that this book takes such a broad focus, especially considering that horror studies is already a well-established field.</p> Hogan D. Schaak Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Suparno Banerjee’s Indian Science Fiction: Patterns, History and Hybridity. <p>In Indian Science Fiction: Patterns, History and Hybridity (ISF), Suparno Banerjee highlights the hybridity of Indian sf by evaluating its creation at the intersection of Indian and Western cultures and proceeds to develop this theme along with other patterns more elaborately.<br>Banerjee is an associate professor of English and an established scholar on Indian sf with many scholarly publications to his credit, including his dissertation, Other Tomorrows: Postcoloniality, Science Fiction and India (2010), which studies Indian sf from a postcolonial perspective, arguing that it “intervenes in the history-oriented discourse of postcolonial Anglophone Indian literature and refocuses attention on the nation’s future” by negotiating “the stigma of colonialism to a nation emerging as a new world power” (1).</p> Sobia Kiran Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Simon Young’s The Boggart: Folklore, History, Place-names and Dialect <p>Simon Young’s The Boggart: Folklore, History, Place-names and Dialect is an immensely comprehensive examination of boggart-lore in a specific part of Northern England he calls “Boggartdom” throughout Victorian times and beyond. The author includes several maps of Boggartdom in each chapter, and most of these are visually effective and informative, such as one that shows where the authors were writing about boggarts (41), where landmarks include boggart in the name (54), what counties used boggart (58), a map locating parents who would use boggartsto scare their children into behaving (63), related boggart names (72), and one that tracks and quantifies boggart memories (180). However, there are a few instances where the figures are not clear. In Chapter Four, the author refers to the “account . . . drawn up here” (82), but there is no reference to a figure, and no figure on that page, only the opposing page. Then Figure 19 is referenced on page 83 but not shown until page 86, four figures later. Nevertheless, what stands out throughout the book is how extremely thorough Young is in his definitions and his research and how he treats people who believe in the supernatural with respect.</p> Taten Shirley Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Valerie Estelle Frankel’s The Villain's Journey: Descent and Return in Science Fiction and Fantasy <p>Valerie Estelle Frankel's The Villain's Journey proposes that villains—especially those who are well-developed—often follow a "villain's journey." As one might suspect, this path cleaves to "the hero's journey" monomyth which Joseph Campbell popularized.</p> <p>Campbell argued that the hero's journey typically proceeded through three acts comprised of as many as seventeen separate stages. Briefly, the protagonist in a "hero's journey" myth chooses (or is compelled) to leave their community in Act I (Departure). The hero endures a variety of trials—which are often directed (or at least facilitated) by divine agents and supernatural events—that lead the hero to develop wisdom and refine their capabilities in Act II (Initiation). Finally, the hero more or less reluctantly returns to their home community in order to integrate their wisdom into their society in Act III (Return).</p> Brian Breed Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Alcala Antonio Gonzalez and Carl H. Sederholm’s Lovecraft in the 21st Century: Dead, But Still Dreaming <p>Lovecraft in the 21st Century: Dead, But Still Dreaming opens with the premise that Lovecraft is everywhere, inextricably bound up with popular culture. Indeed, the tendrils of Lovecraft's lore and themes spread through nearly every cultural touchstone, as the sheer breadth of subject matter covered in this work makes plain. This anthology conveys the scope of Lovecraft's influence and reach. He inspires Magic: The Gathering decks (Albary and Albary 103) and influences the depiction of Nightmare and Dream in Bloodborne (2015) (Murray 227); he becomes a fixation for Alan Moore (Lindsay 71) and influences Brazilian horror parody (Reis Filho and Schvarzman 50). He shows up in The X-Files (1993-2002) and he inflects Stranger Things (2016-present). If prevalence is relevance, and if relevance is importance, then the importance of a critical anthology on Lovecraft's enduring legacy is clear. And in an era where you can buy Cthulhu plush toys (Hudson 186) or consume a graphic novel which censors his cat's offensive name (Shapira 92), a critical treatment of his prejudices, politics, and philosophy is urgent needed too.</p> Brian Breed Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Hosam A. Ibraham Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha’s Arab and Muslim Science Fiction: Critical Essays <p>In the preface to Arab and Muslim Science Fiction: Critical Essays, edited by Hosam A. Ibrahim Elzembely and Emad El-Din Aysha, the former writes, “This is a book dedicated to filling in the gap once and for all in the production and dissemination of knowledge about Arabic and Muslim science fiction” (1). What is most important is the perspective from which the volume operates. As Ibrahim Elzembely observes, much of the scholarship on Arabic and Muslim sf, prior to the publication of this book, has been done “from the singular perspective of a foreign expert” (1)—that is to say, the work already done in this space has mostly been done by those “not intimately acquainted with [Arab] cultural perspective and values or the exact nature of the problems they all face” (1). As such, this volume operates as a corrective to what the editors see as glaring omission in the study of global literature; as Lyn Qualey observes a few pages later in the introduction, “Most of the critical and academic attention given to science fiction has been to the literature produced in North America and Europe” (4). Against the claim that there is “there is no such thing as Arabic science fiction at all” (4), the editors and writers included in Arab and Muslim Science Fiction add to the conversation “the rich landscape of science fiction in other languages” by exploring not just that fiction itself but also “the ways in which it fuses with other literary and cultural traditions” (4).</p> Carlos Tkacz Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 LeRoy Lad Panek’s Nineteenth Century Detective Fiction: An Analytical History <p>In Nineteenth Century Detective Fiction: An Analytical History, LeRoy Lad Panek examines an archive of transatlantic periodical detective fiction alongside canonical nineteenth-century authors to trace the rich variety of forms, themes, and characters that emerged across detective fiction during the nineteenth century. Situating these works within the context of book, periodical, and legal history, Panek demonstrates how the range of detective fiction that flourished in the periodical press during the nineteenth century adds to, and complicates, typical critical understandings of the genre as based on a few canonical authors—primarily Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, and Wilkie Collins. In fact, one of the most striking points of Panek’s argument is that our understanding of detective fiction as it was read, circulated, and received during the nineteenth century is not only incomplete but inaccurate, given the breadth of material that has been omitted or lost entirely. In overlooking the variety of media where detective fiction could be found—such as magazines, story papers, and newspapers—we miss key moves in the genre’s development as well as how wide-ranging detective fiction’s readership was in terms of age, gender, class, and education.</p> H Fogarty Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 From the Editor <p>It is difficult to say when, precisely, any literary genre truly begins. There are always antecedents and precursors, and intense scrutiny often reveals anything in art to be older than it seems. However, for science fiction, fantasy, and fairy tale, the nineteenth century serves as a useful time period in which to place the beginnings of these genres, at least in their modern iterations.</p> <p>Several arguments have been made, for instance, that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is not actually the first sf novel, that Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World (1666) or Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1634) or any number of works can lay claim to being pre-Frankenstein works of sf, but Shelley’s novel in many ways established the genre as we know it today. Unlike many of its rivals that may be considered the first sf novel, Frankenstein is solely based on science and does not mix the real and the fantastic the way other works had. It was the first novel to look at humanity’s advancing scientific knowledge and ask “what if?” in a way that truly questioned our relationship with science. Instead, it asked questions about humanity and what we might do given the new scientific powers we were accumulating. While Frankenstein and other sf novels came from Europe, sf was not entirely a European creation. Much recent scholarship has demonstrated how other regions of the world, such as India and the Middle East, were early contributors to the genre.</p> <p>Fantasy, of course, did not begin in the nineteenth century. Its origins can be traced back to epic poems and stories of gods and supernatural creatures at the very beginnings of written stories, and no doubt goes back even further in oral traditions. However, like science fiction, many of the aspects of fantasy literature that we now take for granted have their beginnings in the nineteenth century, and many of the writers, such as George MacDonald or Margaret Oliphaunt, gave rise to subgenres such as high fantasy or the ghost story that we so easily recognize today. In America, fantasy played a large role in giving rise to a new national literary tradition. Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book (1819-20) provided a brand of American Romanticism with works such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Edgar Allan Poe pioneered the short story, detective fiction, and horror with his fantastic tales and poetry, creating distinctive types of fantasy that would continue to be developed well into the twentieth century.</p> <p>Fairy tales, too, go back much further, but they gained a special relevance in the nineteenth century, thanks to academics such as the Brothers Grimm who saw these stories as something more than children’s tales. In the nineteenth century, writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Kingsley created new fairy tales, and even writers such as Charles Dickens or Charlotte Brontë were influenced in their realistic fiction by the genre. The academic study of fairy tales since then has grown into a major field within literary studies, with generations of scholars discovering new layers of depth and meaning in these class stories. Likewise, writers from one generation to the next have found the form to be a flexible vehicle for commenting on society and culture.</p> <p>These literary beginnings coincided with many other changes in the nineteenth century. The Industrial Revolution changed economies and class structures. Colonialism brought cultures into contact and conflict. The women’s suffrage movement caused people to rethink long-held beliefs. Darwinism brought religious beliefs under question and sparked new interest in scientific explanations of the world. In many ways, the fantastic literature that emerged in this milieu was a reaction to these ground-shaking changes.</p> <p>It is the goal of this journal to trace the origins of science fiction, fantasy, and fairy tale and explore how they developed into the familiar genres we know today. This journal is also interested in nineteenth-century reception today, how phenomenon from the steam punk aesthetic to Disney movies are constantly re-envisioning the nineteenth century and putting our time into conversation with this previous era. In all, this journal will endeavor to explore a century and its literature that were both truly incredible.</p> James Hamby Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 A Veiled Inclusion <p>Over 200 years after its conception, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein not only remains one of the most influential works of all-time, but researchers are still gaining new insights into the culturally and philosophically significant lessons drawn from its pages. Shelley’s masterpiece takes influences from her life and cohesively stitches them together with politics and social commentary, paying homage to those she reveres as she seeks to establish herself as both an author and the torchbearer of her parents’ legacies. Expectations were high for Shelley considering her pedigree as the child of two successful authors known for their progressive ideologies, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Born Mary Godwin, Shelley’s birth was marked by the untimely death of her mother, leaving her alone to navigate a social landscape that simultaneously held great expectations for her while also oppressing her because of her gender. Wollstonecraft’s absence served as a painful yet substantial influence on Shelley, but it was Wollstonecraft’s controversial status that contributed to Shelley’s choice to shroud her mother’s presence in the work. While Frankenstein quotes various Romantic writers and historically significant figures, such as future husband Percy Shelley and childhood influence Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Shelley’s activist, progressive mother is neither directly quoted nor openly referenced (Robinson 132). Wollstonecraft’s feminist ideologies and death are embedded in the characters of Frankenstein, and the novel’s focus on the martyred feminine, such as Caroline Beaufort and Justine Moritz, is frequently recognized as a reference to Wollstonecraft. Indeed, the overarching theme of the toxic masculine resulting from the absence of the beneficial feminine can be interpreted as an allusion to Wollstonecraft’s absence in Mary’s life. However, examination of the novel’s feminist core features a lone female voice silenced in the midst of a male-dominated narration, that of the Christian Arab Safie, who flees oppression to be with her love interest, Felix De Lacey. While scholarship has identified Wollstonecraft’s philosophies on education and slavery as depicted through Safie, there is further evidence to suggest that Safie’s character is representative of Wollstonecraft herself. Through Safie, Wollstonecraft’s actual experiences from her abusive upbringing, restricted education, and independent travels across Europe are depicted. Via the medium of letter-writing, Safie, like Wollstonecraft, makes the argument for women as independent, rational beings. Furthermore, the presentation of Safie’s letters is stolen by the Creature, symbolically suppressing Safie’s ideas just as Wollstonecraft’s activism was silenced in a male-dominated society. It is through Safie’s subtle inclusion that Shelley is able to disguise her mother’s presence in order to safely navigate and confront the controversies surrounding her mother’s life and make her a quintessential part of the Frankenstein lore.</p> Mathew Siegel Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Pre-Industrial Dream <p>In his 1871 hollow-earth novel, The Coming Race, Edward Bulwer-Lytton created a society in which nobody lives in want, has to toil endlessly to earn a living, or is wealthy enough to incite envy in others. The people are strong, healthy, attractive and long-living. Their widespread prosperity does not require the abolition of private property nor does their good health depend upon Erewhonian eugenics. Neither do they lack outlets for their impressive creative and intellectual energies. For all of this, very few critics in the century-and-a-half since its publication have attempted to take the utopian character of this society literally, opting instead to read it as satirical, dystopian, or anti-utopian. One critic even considers it the father of the anti-utopian novels (Seeber 39). I argue, however, that The Coming Race should be read not as an anti-utopian “Condemnation of Advanced Ideas” but as a counter-industrial utopia evoking pre-industrial-era cultural norms and values in a way that casts those of the Victorian era as inferior (Campbell 125). Bulwer’s novel performs this move primarily by undoing the industrial era’s ascendency of labor over workmanship and contemplation, an ascendency described in detail by Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition (1958). Insofar as the novel “reject[s] utopia as a blueprint while preserving it as a dream” and places significant emphasis on the “conflict between the originary world and the utopian society” as well as the imperfections within the utopian society itself, the novel is best understood as a precursor to the “critical utopia” of the twentieth century (Moylan 10).</p> Robert Rich Copyright (c) 2023 Mon, 01 May 2023 00:00:00 +0000