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Lecture 1

ENG239H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Brian Stableford, Misanthropy, Msnbc


Department
English
Course Code
ENG239H1
Professor
Mike Johnstone
Lecture
1

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!
Lecture'1!
Why'fantasy?'
" “fantasy”!as!mode/tradition!VS.!“fantasy”!as!marketing!category/commodity!
" “to!many!thinkers!fantasy!has!seemed!a!silly!self"indulgence,!even!a!perversion”!!Kathryn!Hume,!
Fantasy'and'Mimesis:'Responses'to'Reality'in'Western'Literature'(Methuen,!1984),!xvi.!
" “[…]!the!notion!of!fantasy!comes!ready"tainted!with!implications!of!unworthiness,!of!a!failure!of!some!
alleged!duty!of!the!human!mind!to!concentration!on!the!realities!of!existence”!–!Brian!Stableford,!The'A'
to'Z'of'Fantasy'Literature'(Scarerow,!2005),!!
o fantasy!is!not!real,!so!it!represents!failure!
" “[…]!why!use!fantasy?””!what!do!audiences!get!from!it?”!“what!good!is!it!to!authors?”…!"!Hume,!19"20!
!
Anders’s'“The'Conjurer”'
Peter&did&a&magic&spell,&and&it&worked&fine.&With&no&unintended&consequences,&and&no&weird&side&effects.&
Two&days&later,&he&was&on&the&front&page&of&the&local&newspaper:&“The&Miracle&Conjurer.”&Some&blogs&picked&
it&up,&and&soon&enough&he&was&getting&visits&from&CNN&and&MSNBC,&and&his&local&NPR&station&kept&wanting&
to&put&him&on.&News&crews&were&standing&and&talking&in&front&of&his&house.”&
" how!are!we!encouraged!that!Peter!did!perform!the!spell?!Factual!almost!“worked!fine,!no!consequences”!
" the!spell!worked!fine!without!any!side!effects!–!nothing!bad!happened!
" not!about!the!spell,!but!because!nothing!strange!happened!because!of!the!spell!
" important!to!establish!the!fact!that!he!did!cast!a!magic!spell!in!the!beginning!because!it!encourages!
readers!to!accept!magic!is!real!in!that!world!
" language!is!particular!“peter!DID!a!magic!spell”!not!peter!“casted”!one!!!whole!story!uses!“did”!
o does!not!make!it!as!mysterious!
o normalizes!it!with!“did”!
" don’t!know!what!the!spell!was!–!but!it!worked!fine!
" nothing!questions!the!reality!of!magic,!but!states!its!real!
" nobody!questioned!whether!the!spell!happened!or!not!
" narrator!states!magic!happens!in!this!world!–!no!questions!asked!
Peter&had&a&hard&time&concentrating&on&work&when&the&TV&set&in&the&break&room&was&tuned&to&CNN,&and&
they&were&showing&his&bedroom&window,&and&a&million&people&were&staring&at&the&pile&of&unfolded&laundry&
on&his&bed&and&the&curtains&that&Dobbs&had&recently&halfJdestroyed.&Could&the&Clean&Spell&revolutionize&
spellcasting?&a&voice&asked.&Was&there&a&secret,&and&could&everyone&else&learn&it?&CNN&brought&on&an&
Enchantress&named&Monica,&who&wore&a&red&power&blazer.&She&frequently&appeared&on&talk&shows&
whenever&there&was&a&magical&murder&trial&or&something.”&
" idea!that!there!are!online!discussions!!
" there!are!Enchantresses!
" “clean!spell”!=!no!side!effects!
" something!about!the!spell!makes!it!special!=!its!clean!
" you!escaped!what!was!coming!to!you!by!casting!the!spell!–!“clean”!!a!clean!getaway!
" “clean”!=!worked!fine!–!it!worked!–!went!right!
" everyone!has!a!job!–!normal!everyday!job!
" why!is!it!important!that!magic!is!implied!to!normally!not!clean?!magic!has!to!have!borders!(changing!
laws!about!something!!need!consequences)!
o consequences!are!normal!–!not!fully!considered!a!problem!!!a!clean!spell!could!revolutionize!
things!
" magic!is!normal!to!these!people,!but!not!necessarily!easy!
People&hate&you,&you&know,”&Rebecca&told&Peter&halfway&through&dinner.&“You’re&super&threatening,&
because&you’re&the&proof&that&there’s&something&wrong&with&them.&If&they’d&only&been&good&people,&they&
would&have&gotten&away&clean,&too.&Plus,&it&offends&our&sense&of&order.&Power&should&have&terrible&
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