The Enduring Fantastic

Essays on Imagination and Western Culture


In stock

About the Book

Fantastic fiction is traditionally understood as Western genre literature such as fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Expanding on this understanding, these essays explore how the fantastic has been used in Western societies since the Middle Ages as a tool for organizing and materializing abstractions in order to make sense of the present social order. Disciplines represented here include literature studies, gender studies, biology, ethnology, archeology, history, religion, game studies, cultural sociology, and film studies. Individual essays cover topics such as the fantastic creatures of medieval chronicle, mummy medicine in eighteenth-century Sweden, how fears of disease filtered through the universal and adaptable vampire, the gender aspects of goddess worship in the secular West, ecocentrism in fantasy fiction, how videogames are dealing with the remediation of heritage, and more.

About the Author(s)

Anna Hoglund is a senior lecturer in comparative literature at Linnaeus University, Sweden. Her research areas are horror fiction and fantastic fiction in literature and film with a focal point on the functions of monsters like vampires, zombies and werewolves, as instrumental interpretations of the world.

Cecilia Trenter is a senior lecturer in history at Malmo University, Sweden. She works within the research field of memory studies and public history, including heritage adaptions and remediation in fiction, for instance epic films and computer-games.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Anna Höglund and Cecilia Trenter

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8012-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4278-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Anna Höglund and Cecilia Trenter 1
Anna Höglund and Cecilia Trenter 3

The Use of the Fantastic in a Historical Perspective
Dragons and Kingdoms: Political Authority and Fantasy in the Histories of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Saxo Grammaticus
Hans Hägerdal 20
Egyptian Mummies, Medicine and the Supernatural in Eighteenth-Century Sweden
Joachim Östlund 37
A Double-Edged Sword: Promises and Dangers of Hypnotism in Sweden, 1880–1915
Cecilia Riving 49

The Use of the Fantastic and Fantastika in Contemporary Culture
A Friend and Foe: The Portrayal of Otherness and Disease in Vampire Fiction
Anna Höglund 68
Priestesses of Avalon: Fantasy Fiction and Contemporary Goddess Worship
Åsa Trulsson 88
Dwarfs Are Not Religious, Sir! Gradually Reclining Dwarven Irreligion in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe
Jonas Svensson 106
Bringing Dragons Back into the World: Dismantling the Anthropocene in Robin Hobb’s The Realm of the Elderlings
Mariah Larsson 124
Our World Is Dew: Tor Åge Bringsværd’s Fable Prose as a Chthulucenic Exploration
Marit Ruge Bjærke and Kyrre Kverndokk 140

The Use of the Fantastic and Fantastika in Memory Culture
“And this is how I tried to fathom the Lindenborg Pool”: William Morris, Medievalism and Modernity
Per Klingberg 156
Fairy Tales Transformed: Analyzing a New Wave of Feminist Retellings of Fairy Tales
Maria Nilson 173
Remediation of Cultural Memory in the Dragon Age Videogame Series
Cecilia Trenter 188
Fallout, Memory and Values: The Uses of History and Time in a Fantasy-Driven Videogame
Derek Fewster 203

About the Contributors 221
Index 223

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Offers numerous insightful, informative and original contributions to a wide variety of topics circulating around the fantastic’s multiple interconnections with cultural histories….The book will be a valuable resource for scholars/students of the fantastic…”—Sean Moreland, University of Ottawa