A Rhetoric of the Unreal  

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unreal, fantastic, narratology

A Rhetoric of the Unreal : Studies in Narrative and Structure, Especially of the Fantastic (1981) is a book by British writer and literary critic Christine Brooke-Rose.

According to Gary K. Wolfe in a DePauw University review[1] "the book contains a useful discussion of the methodology of genre studies, some extended and insightful discussions of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, less enlightening discussions of Tolkien and two SF works (by Joseph McElroy and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr), and a provocative concluding section on Robbe-Grillet, Sukenick, and other modern "metafictionists." It also contains hundreds of sentences like the following, which alludes to Rip Van Winkle:"

"But in the case of the ambiguity that must remain unresolved in the pure fantastic, this dialogical metatext is clearly generated by the underlying balance of the over-determined and under-determined unresolved enigmas, whereas the marvellous (supernatural accepted, as in Rip), in which this particular ambiguity does not exist, will contain only a minor (and over-determined) hermeneutic code, which can generate only a monological and minor metatext, although the underdetermined other codes, often symbolic, can generate other metatexts". (p. 123)

Key words are

metatext, Gandalf, science fiction, Aragorn, nouveau roman, metafiction, analepsis, Frodo, metonymic, Rivendell, Tralfamadore, postmodernism, hermeneutic, Sirens of Titan, Imp Plus, Gollum, Nathalie Sarraute, Quint, Baroque and governess.

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