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Myths and the Fantastic Author(s): Andras Sandor Source: New Literary History, Vol. 22, No.

2, Probings: Art, Criticism, Genre (Spring, 1991), pp. 339-358 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/469042 . Accessed: 26/07/2011 11:26
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Myths and the Fantastic


Andras Sandor I
HE SPACE left empty by the withdrawal of myths under the onslaught of Enlightenment thought has been filled with stories, and the stories which have so far been the closest to are fantastic stories: this is the basic proposition which I want myths to argue and discuss. Realistic stories, too, have been produced in an attempt to reactivate some mythic view of the world, as in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain or Joyce's Ulysses,but the stories closest to being mythic are those of Frankenstein, Dracula, Captain Nemo, Tarzan, and the like. This is curious, since myths are "true stories" for an original audience,' whereas fantastic stories are palpably "untrue." I am proposing, therefore, to compare two different kinds of stories, one true, another untrue, and do it without any intention to bridge the gap in the name of "literature" or "art." The distinction between true stories and untrue stories implies classification. The further distinctions which I will introduce here will make this implication explicit. A word about classification, therefore, is in order. The classification used here is based on three considerations. First, that every text is processed in terms of some overarching frame; second, that all available frames need to be considered if any one is; third, that the distinction between true stories and untrue stories relates to a basic division among frames applied to the texts of stories.2 As for the first consideration, the classification used here relates to kinds of frames (not to particular frames) which people in modern societies can be assumed to use when processing the texts of stories. The second and third considerations belong together. If all available frames used for telling, and listening to, stories are considered, and I believe that all need to be, a major decision will concern the veridical status of the story in question. True stories are constantly tested against possible untruth, and untrue stories can only be untrue in contrast to possible true ones. Accordingly, this approach, focusing
New LiteraryHistory, 1991, 22: 339-358

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in the first place on the manifest level of stories, not on the latent (and its discovery), clearly diverges from structuralist approaches, such as Northrop Frye's or LUvi-Strauss's. Interest in the manifest level implies that the information made available by means of stories cannot be reduced to structural aspects, to something nonstorical. Hegel said that "appearance is essential to essence"; basic interest in the manifest level merely stipulates that appearance cannot be dispensed with, since whatever is read into it needs it for reading something into it. There are three basic kinds of stories in general: true, untrue, and enigmatic. A "true story" is believed to have actually happened; it is told in reference to actual agents and their actions/passions. Untrue stories are not believed to have actually happened, whereas enigmatic stories are enigmatic because they are stories, as a rule, with agents known to be actual but with actions judged impossible as far as the world as known by experience is concerned. The story of Jesus, for instance, is enigmatic. Belief, as a rule, does not remove enigmas; it merely relocates them. For the nonbeliever, the enigma will be other people's belief; for the believer, the ways of providence. Untrue stories are false or they are fantasies. False stories, whether mistaken or deceitful, could be considered distinct kinds of untrue stories, but it seems better to consider them the inverse of true stories because they are closely related to them. Stories cannot be called false unless they have been told with the claim of being true and have been proved wrong. A historical novel is a fantasy, not a false story, because it claims to be a novel and most of its characters are bound to be fictitious. And when a true story is found out to be a false one, it does not metamorphose into a fantasy; it continues to be known as a false story. (Archaic myths are not false; the very world in which they are believed to have happened is judged phantasmagorical.) Untrue stories, if they are not considered false, are fantasies. The term fantasy has been used by Kathryn Hume for designating a particular kind of untrue story or a general principle opposing that of mimesis. I am using it here in the sense usually attached to fiction. The reason for my choice is that fiction equally applies to model-making, and the relationship between a model and what it refers to is different from the relationship between an untrue story and that to which it may be related. True stories are about actual agents and their actions, whereas scientific models, as a rule, are about actual but not particular events; they refer to kinds.3 Moreover, a certain amount of fiction is necessary for all true stories, since they need to be construed from available evidence. "Fiction," in

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other words, is a concept much broader than "fantasy." I want to distinguish five kinds of fantasy: the realistic, the romantic, the fantastic, the nonsensical, and the parabolic. The distinctions result from a person's feeling or judgment whether given nonactual agents and actions are possible as far as the world known to him is concerned. If they are felt to be possible, there is a subdivision according to probability. Nonactual agents and actions which appear possible and probable make up realistic stories; those which appear possible but (highly) improbable make up romantic stories. Realistic and romantic stories are extremes, and have their own extremes, along the same continuum of possibility. Stories with nonactual agents and actions which appear impossible, too, can be subdivided. The difference in this case is due, not to a greater or lesser degree of impossibility, but to the different kinds of response a story releases in the audience. Nonsensical stories, like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, are addressed to the intellect in the first place, whereas fantastic stories are addressed to the feeling and the imagination. Fantastic stories may have some nonsense at their core but the story is developed by departing from it, usually by ignoring it, whereas nonsensical stories never leave it; they move and meander within it.4 Parabolic stories could be considered a fourth kind of story, next to the true, the untrue, and the enigmatic. If lying subverts all true stories, parabolizing subverts all stories, true or untrue, by removing actual/particular truth from true stories and adding general truth to untrue stories. "True" in the expression "true story" means that "It is true that this and this actually happened." There is, however, also "higher" truth, derived from generalizing, and higher truth subverts the particularity of both true stories and fantasies. Still, it is probably better to group parabolic stories under fantasies, since this is what they are as long as stories are divided in the first place according to actuality, that is, whether they did or did not actually happen. The last comment is also intended to suggest that the typology offered here for classificatory purposes consists of ideal types in the Weberian fashion: they are scientific constructs produced for helping analyze evidence rather than for taxonomically identifying it. At the same time, I do want to claim that these constructs bear some relationship to the nonscientific constructs which people at large produce for sorting out information. The everyday constructs are more or less well defined; the objects, however, to which they are applied (in the productive as well as the reproductive generation

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of stories as told) may require or provoke the application of more than one construct. They very often cause lack of clarity in a receptive audience. This is normal. Most true stories have some mistakes and lies; and most stories, true or untrue, require more than one kind of construal, just as their telling may be motivated by more than one intention and scheme. I start out with "true stories," since in my view we always take our bearings from true stories; we constantly hear and produce them. The telling and processing of true stories is a human need which probably can only be removed together with the species. They do not belong to a Marxian "society of need" which could be overcome, and they could not be made redundant in terms of some Nietzschean superhumanity either. Thinking in terms of true stories means to think of myths as distinct from mythology. The word mythologymay designate, like iconography, both a corpus, a given system of units, and the study of their systematization. Logical systematization, however, is opposed to the nature of myths. What characterizes the "mythic view" of the world is that it works itself out through myths, in the plural, not through one story or a single system of stories. Pluralism and diversity is the very nature of myths; the emergence of mythology effectively marks the end of myths as true stories.5 Fantastic stories are fantasies. What is curious is why such stories, which are furthest removed for the original audience from being true stories, have the effect of being mythic. But this is, after all, another way of asking why archaic myths (as well as folktales) have received so much attention since the eighteenth century. Our fascination with fantastic stories and with (archaic) myths belong together. This relationship contradicts the view, quite widespread, that the mythic view, or myth (in the singular), was able to integrate the world; at least it seems to contradict it. According to Habermas, "The totalizing force of myth, with which it orders all phenomena, as noticed on the surface, in a network of correspondences, relationships of similarity and contrast, arises from basic concepts which categorically combine whatever the modern understanding of the world cannot bring together any more."' Whatever "myth" does, myths do not totalize and have little to do with categorically coherent concepts. And if they do bring the world together they do it in a very peculiar way. We can only notice this, however, if we consider them true stories and also ask what is peculiar about fantastic stories or, to be more precise, about having fantastic stories.

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II

In his book on The Fantastic,7 Tzvetan Todorov introduces the term fantasticin a much narrower sense. He differentiates it from the uncanny and the marvelous. Uncanny stories retain the laws of nature: stories seemingly supernatural are given a natural/rational explanation in the end. The marvelous, by contrast, introduces new laws, supernaturallaws of its own. For Todorov, the fantastic hovers between the two, between actual reality and some reality which is not actual, so the hero-as well as the implicit reader-cannot make up his mind where he is. As soon as this hesitation is resolved in either direction, the fantastic is left behind (25). Todorov differentiates the fantastic also from the allegorical and the poetic or literary. The reader's uncertainty disappears if he notices that the events should be understood allegorically or selfreferentially (32). The point is well taken in the context of Todorov's scheme: self-referential poetic/literary works do not refer to the actual world, and the reader who notices this will lose his sense of the fantastic. He will lose it, to mention an analogy suggested by Todorov's study, in a similar way to when he notices that he is reading a story which is marvelous, that is, which must be supernatural, if believed. The trouble with Todorov's theory lies with his concepts of nature, the natural, and the supernatural on the one hand, and with his aestheticist concept of poetry/literature as self-referential on the other.8 As for the first problem, Todorov does not consider that the is concept of the "supernatural" based on the idea of a fallen nature. The Kingdom of Heaven cannot know miracles. Consequently, Todorov does not seem to realize that "nature"and the "natural" are bound to be problematic when and where the idea of a fallen nature is absent. Now it so happens that the fantastic, as a subtype of fantasy, began to be produced when nature became problematic because Enlightenment thought stripped it of the supernaturaland conceived of an empirically observable reality. This idea was problematicright from the outset. It reduced nature to quantifiable physics (Newton), pitting against it an identical observer conceived in terms of thinking and guaranteed by a good God (Descartes),and producing a new discontinuitybetween subject and object. The same idea could help blur discontinuities as far as human beings on earth were concerned by skeptically projecting
them everywhere (Hume). This, in turn, provoked Kant to introduce

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two fundamental discontinuities, one between pure and practical reason, physics and morality, and another between reason and judgment, causality and teleology. For Kant, evolutionary zoology, history in general, and all matters of taste were accessible to teleological thought only. They were, in other words, not part of "empirically observable reality" as far as true knowledge was concerned. And yet exactly these spheres of concern and reality gained special significance when the supernatural was removed from nature. The authors of fantastic stories, often romantic authors, tried to unite Kant's partitioned "nature." They believed in the "miracles of nature," a paradoxical idea well suggested by the title of Abrams's book on romanticism, Natural Supernaturalism.9The nature of the paradox, however, is better suggested if the word "supernatural" is not used. For the authors in question thought of nature itself as capable of incomprehensible jumps. The traditional wisdom of natura non fecit saltus-the expression has been traced back to Fournier's Varite's historiqueset littiraires (1613); the idea was best propagated by Leibniz '--was exchanged for a new one, nowadays overwhelmingly accepted, which might be called natura fecit saltus. In the mode of thought which holds that nature does make jumps, all transcendence occurs in a monistically immanent world. Even the distinction between nature and culture is paradox in such a view, since culture, too, is nature; the nonconscious mind, too, is mind. Immanent transcendence gives rise to a "natural superreality" at every discontinuous jump. Superreality is integrated with reality without surrendering the discontinuity which made its emergence possible. Monsters are only fantastic as long as nature is not. But if nature is not, how are monsters possible? Moreover, if monsters are natural, nature can be monstrous, and culture can be, too. We know the theory of the "happy monster," the mutational ancestor of a new species. If there are "happy monsters," the real difference runs between monster and monster, not merely between monster and norm. The discontinuity between monster and norm might be merely temporal, not structural. From the vantage point of the happy monster, the species left behind or to the side is monstrous; it depends on the viewer which monstrosity he prefers, although he may well prefer both. If he does, the world itself will appear as fantastic, and our ability to produce the fantastic will appear as closely linked with our ability to produce a mentally and experientially viable world. Fantastic stories cannot be meaningfully discussed outside this general context in which they appeared in modern times. Self-

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referential concepts of poetry/literature, or of art, therefore, are inadequate for doing justice to the fantastic. This is the second basic problem with Todorov's theory. The success of a fantastic story depends on how the experience which it provokes relates to the general experience which the audience has of nature and the world, and the world has been a very problematic context of experience in the period in which fantastic stories have appeared and still appear. "Nature" does make (discontinuous) jumps, and the permutations are fascinating because they are frightening, not just playful. III It is helpful to pay a little more attention to self-referentiality when discussing myths and fantastic stories because it is one of "our" scientific concepts and a problematic one. Frege said that "poetry" had "meaning" (Sinn) but no referent (Bedeutung)." He wanted to clarify the nature of the predication "true" in an attempt to find out when it could be used. He said that it could not be used in reference to anything bodily given or to works of art; its sole legitimate use was in assertions (Behauptungssaetze). In "poetry," he said, we have "illusory proper names" not real proper names; and sentences with illusory (Scheineigennamen), names, such as "Scylla" or "Tell," are neither true nor false; proper as a result, poetry is neither true nor false (40f). Self-referentiality is an idea based on, or relatable to, Frege's concept of "poetry." The problem with this concept is that Frege subsumed under it also mythic stories, myths, and he did not tell how it could be known that a name was an illusory proper name or a real one. Was "Athena" an illusory proper name for the original audience of the Homeric songs? The term myth comes in handy in answering this question. The enlightened outsider can say: Yes, it was, but "they" did not know this. The problems with this kind of answer have been much discussed.'2 He who knows must be an outsider but how can an outsider really know? Moreover, how is it possible to have an experience outside a world; how can an experience be an experience if not in terms of some world? If we admit that "poetry" is self-referential we must exclude from poetry all true stories, that is, stories which are known to have referents. Myths are true stories for those who so believe them. But are myths to be referred, therefore, to the realm of (scientific) assertions? Now it so happens that myths ought to be considered outside

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Frege's scheme even in terms of his own thought. Gabriel has pointed out that Frege in fact had a treble distinction in mind: science, and poetry. The difference pragmatic language (Gebrauchssprache), between science and pragmatic language is twofold: science uses words with one referent only, it is a system, whereas pragmatic language has words with several referents; it is used, however, in some pragmatic context which can ensure that the word has only one referent.'3 The predication "true" is only legitimate as far as assertions are concerned (whether scientific or pragmatic), and the property "asserted/nonasserted" pertains to the way in which texts are considered (Auffassung), not to the texts themselves. Sentences of science are consideredassertive, sentences of poetry are considered nonassertive (xix). This applies conversely as well: nonassertively considered texts are only valid as "poetry" (xx). Gabriel himself mentions that Frege's concept of "poetry" is problematic because "poetry" may have a truth different from the truth of science (xx). But he does not even suggest that some works called by Frege "poetic" in fact are "pragmatic." If we consider this we can conclude that Frege's concept of "poetry" needs to be dissolved or rather replaced by three basic terms: myth, fantasy, and (lyric) poetry. For the works that Frege had in mind could be so classified. And if we include "pragmatic language," we can distinguish between "true story" (and its inverse, "deceitful story"), "fantasy," and "(lyric) poetry." Myths, to repeat, are true stories for those who so believe them. They are asserted and so considered. The widest circumference of the pragmatic context is the world shared by the people who assert a given story to be true; the pragmatic context ensures, therefore, not only that a name has a single referent on a given occasion but also that it does have one. This holds true, it seems to me, of all true stories, including enigmatic ones. If we bracket lyric poetry, as nonstorical verbal works, we can say that Frege's "poetry" should be replaced by "fantasy," and his "pragmatic language" should be introduced to include, among others, all true stories, whether we call some "myths" and others "histories." Myths cannot be called, therefore, self-referential. But this is not all. Even fantastic fantasies are more than selfreferential. The idea of self-referentiality was propagated, among others, by Mukarovsky, who equated with one another the poetic and the aesthetic and argued that the "aesthetic function" was "an omnipresent dialectical negation of the three functions of language"

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proposed by Btihler--representation, expression, appeal-and that it was "a necessary supplement to Biihler's model."'4 Mukarovsky also argued, however, that poetic works, though selfreferential, that is, without particular referents, did have what he called "global reference": "And it is this very reference of a higher order, represented by the work as a whole, which enters into a strong relationship with reality" (161). Self-referentiality, in other words, is counterbalanced by global reference.'5 No actual and particular referents correspond to a "poetic work" but the actual and particular world in which it is told does correspond to it. In another passage Mukarovsky speaks of "global relationship" (162) and this is a better term. Accordingly, fantasies may be said to have no actual and particular referents but to be globally related to some actual and particular world, the actual world of someone's experience. A story is realistic, romantic, nonsensical, fantastic, or parabolic in such a relationship.16 We improve on Mukarovsky's scheme if we consider also the true stories and say that all stories are globally related to some actual world.I" Whether or not a story is asserted to be true matters a great deal, of course, but the global relationships which given stories have, irrespectively of being true or untrue, are also significant and noticeable. It is, for instance, significant that a history, that is, a historically true story, and a realistic fantasy share the very same type of global relationship, and that the global relationship which a fantastic story has is closer in type to that of a mythic story than to any other type. For myths are believed to be true stories by a given community but their global relationship to the actual world of the believers is quite different from that of histories: it is not to the same kind of world. Histories are related to a single continuous world whereas (archaic) myths are globally related to two worlds within, or throughout, a single nature. This is so because myths are true stories about deities and/or ancestors; they happened, as Eliade likes to put it, in illo tempore.'"They happened not only in the old days but in another time, in another world. "That world," however, though discontinuous with "this world," is related to it because it had helped bring it about, and still brings it about insofar as the two can be ritually integrated with one another. It is presumably this power of reactivating "that world" in "this one," a power shared by the members of a given community of descendants, which may explain why the two worlds and their ritual integration are not considered enigmatic by the participants. They

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do not feel alienated from this power which they know to be their "own," that is, of which they know themselves to be a part-in which they actively and knowingly participate.'9

IV
But next to the two basic types of true stories, myths and histories, there is a third type, legends. This type includes popular legends (German Sage), as collected by the Grimm brothers, which characterize it best.20 Legends differ in global reference from both myths and histories: they are, and are known to be, enigmatic. They are associated usually, though not necessarily,2' with some geographic location and they are asserted to have actually happened by people to whom the things recounted happened or who believe that they happened in their own lifetime or one or two generations earlier. Stories like that of Jesus or Mohammed started out as popular legends. Recent attempts to introduce the term "myth" (in the singular) to universal religions are, therefore, misconceived. Popular legends, and all legends, belong to the world of enigmatic stories, not of myths. Popular legends are globally related to "this world" and are (alleged to be) histories. At the same time, what happens to an (allegedly) historical agent involves the intrusion of some agent or agents from "another world." Such stories are enigmatic because the two worlds intersect in them without ritual integration. The intersecting occurs in the story itself, not in the ritual activation.22

from "that world," and they are called as a rule "supernatural." But they are not from "beyond nature"; they may indeed be elemental spirits, that is, explicitly natural, although they appear surprisingly, often threateningly, hence as if discontinuously, in "this world." What appears is "that world," some of its forces, and "that world" was, and in some way still is, natural. What is enigmatic is the discontinuity "within" nature. The discontinuity of two worlds is carried by nature as two pots shaped from a single lump of unbaked clay are carried by that clay. Carried is, of course, a wrong term; it could also be said that the shape carries the clay. What matters, however, is the actuality of the clay here and there; no qualitative discontinuity divides that: the discontinuity of the two subsequently shaped pots does not depend on any qualitative discontinuity of the clay itself. "That world" is not more supernatural than "this world"; nature itself is supernatural: it is capable of discontinuous

The agents appearingin popularlegends are, at least in part,

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jumps. Nature is enigmatic--for those, of course, who cannot remove the enigma. It is characteristic, by the way, that popular legends tell stories about individual persons who belong to a given community and happen to be on the road, or otherwise alone, whereas the ritual reactivation of "that world" as a rule is communal. If individuals, such as shamans, do the reactivation,23 they are considered dangerous, and with good reason: shamans court danger, whereas regular members of the community encounter it inadvertently, by surprise. Fantastic stories often resemble popular legends in regard to the world to which they are globally related, as happens in Frankenstein or Dracula; they may resemble myths, like most of the stories of Ursula le Guin (for example, The Left Hand of Darkness) or The Foundation stories by Asimov; a third kind tells of some imaginary equivalent of a ritual integration of "that world" with "this world," as happens in Hoffmann's Princess Brambilla or, in a more limited way, in The Wizard of Oz. Fantastic stories, being fantasies, cannot be enigmatic, of course. This is why whenever they resemble popular legends in regard to global reference, by offering stories in which two worlds intersect, they will have the effect of myths. For a mixed world of that kind is unlike "this world." Fantastic fantasies on the whole resemble myths, whereas realistic fantasies resemble histories. But fantastic stories, being fantasies, can only resemble myths in a limited way. Myths are true stories, and for people who so believe them, the ritual integration does occur: the two worlds in fact are reconciled with one another. Fantastic fantasies, however, can only suggest another world in juxtaposition to "this world." Even if a person integrates the two during reading/listening/viewing, the two worlds are kept apart. If they are not, the story cannot have the effect of being fantastic. The fantastic suggests a scar that cannot be smoothed out, a scar that cannot heal. "That world" cannot help integrate "this world" in the case of fantastic stories but it can make people aware of the need for integration, and of their nonrational ability to achieve it. Even if the scar cannot heal, in both senses of the word, it does something quite useful: it provokes an inquietude about the actual world, suggesting that "this world" is not really known, stirring a person's mental powers to transcend what is known. Whoever feels no inquietude and trusts empirically observable reality, the actual world as known to him, will consider fantastic stories silly or pure amusement. But whoever cannot leave "empir-

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ically observable reality" uncontested, however obscurely and subliminally the contesting is done, will find that fantastic stories counterbalance what is known by generating some "impossible" experience. This is a basic point. The world to which a fantastic story is globally related is not just the world as known to a person but also the world unknown to him. The force of such a story resides in provoking an experience in this double relation. Fantastic stories are not true to the actual world but what is known of the actual world is both limited and questionable. Fantastic stories establish a beyond against which the actual world can be noticed, and they project a mental field in which incomprehensible and/or only subliminally noticed aspects of the actual world can be suggested to experience. All experience is in terms of some world, and anybody's world, however familiar, is bound to remain incomprehensible, at least in terms of Leibniz's question: "Why is there something rather than nothing?"24 World is a context, not a thing; it is, moreover, the ultimate context which itself cannot be put into context as far as experience is concerned. It is easier, therefore, to suggest it by projecting a fantastic world, and by focusing, for instance, on strange dreams which feel like intrusions of such a fantastic world. Fantastic stories alone can suggest that the actual world is fantastic. People who castigate fantastic stories for being escapist can only do it in the name of some authority which is considered obvious, unproblematic, and in no need of legitimation. Such people are right: fantastic stories escape from the prison of those who guard some obvious authority. But such an authority, with its world, is itself fantastic, and this, too, can only be convincingly suggested by fantastic fantasies, such as Swift's Gulliver's Travels or Hoffmann's Little Zaches Called Cinnabar.

V It is not by chance that fantastic fantasies so frequently turn into children's tales without losing the interest of adults who, after all, produced them for themselves, that is, for escaping from their own adult selves in the first place. The (romantic) reappraisal of the child meant that children were not just small and immature adults. The reappraisal was correlated to that of the "people"-at first of the middle classes-who were not just children of a wise and powerful enlightened absolutist

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father, and to the discovery of the "noble savage," the primitives as "children." The child (in the singular) was an emotional-intellectual complex sui generis;25adults never lost it, they could only repress it. Moreover, the child could be repressed also in children. Ever since Rousseau the task was twofold: children were to be raised so that they could freely develop the child, and adults were to be raised (instructed) so that they could allow the emergence of the child. This is why and how, for instance, Hoffmann's tales were intended to be effective in a double relation. The regaining of the child could only be achieved by recognizing its loss (see Hoffmann's tale, "The Strange Child"), that is, by recognizing the impossibility of regaining paradise completely, in other words, without awareness of its loss. This awareness necessary for regaining the child is not the same as the awareness necessary for the fantastic to be effective, but it is closely, or even intimately, related to it. For adults, the child's world is "that world," the adult's world is "this world." So considered, modern adults find themselves in a curious relationship to archaic adults. (Their relationship to the adults of traditional societies, to whom they are the closest, from whom they have been moving away, is much more difficult to discuss.) Modern adults, too, have two worlds within, or throughout, one nature but their two worlds clearly differ from the two worlds of archaic adults. For archaic adults, "that world" is the world of the ancestors; for modern adults, "that world" is the world of the child (who according to Wordsworth is father to the man).26 The archaic two worlds scheme is structural; this is why its paradoxical nature does not disqualify it. Commenting on Kant's new concept of time, Deleuze writes: "Time is no longer defined by succession because succession concerns only things and movements which are in time. If time itself were succession, it would need to This comment does succeed in another time, and on to infinity.""27 to the two worlds scheme as far as logic is concerned. The apply descendants need the world of the ancestors but the ancestors must have been descendants in their own time/world, and they must have needed ancestors in turn, and so on. Logically, we have an infinite regress. But archaic societies do not think "logically," that is, by detaching thinking from experience in the concrete. They do not consider that ancestors, too, must have been descendants, although if they do they will not be disturbed by it: such a consideration does not affect the relationship between ancestors and descendants. Moderns think differently. They know, for instance, of evolution

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and cannot think of the relationship between ancestors and descendants in static (or stable) terms. The curiosity is that evolution demands (species-based) discontinuity, whereas archaic societies continuously "evolve" from animals. But moderns do have a relation which is static (or stable) for them, that between child and adult. The similarity-dissimilarity between the archaic and the modern two worlds scheme provokes two basic conclusions. First, the relationship between "that world" and "this world" is fundamentally ambiguous for modern people. Archaic adults, too, have a relationship with the child but it remains unacknowledged. The child is not "that world"; and adults clearly treat children differently from ancestors. For modern adults, by contrast, the child is "that world," the adult is "this world" but, and significantly, this is not quite true. The more an adult allows the child to emerge, and the more he identifies with it, the less true the division will turn out to be. The modern "this world" has been forced to include the child's world more and more, but this inclusion can only be carried out by the adult (who does not abdicate). The biological, psychological, and mental-cognitive discontinuity as well as continuity between child and adult have only begun to be researched recently, and the strategies and tactics to deal with them have been subject to constant experimentation. Second, the world of the ancestors helps integrate "this world" of the descendants, whereas "that world" of the child ("nature") helps break up, disqualify, or counterbalance "this world" of the adults ("society"). Archaic societies produce a positive integration of ancestors and descendants, "that world" and "this world," whereas modern societies so far have only been able to integrate the child with the adult, the child's world with the adult's world, negatively. Child and adult may be believed to be integrated no less than ancestors and descendants, but the integration has no positive role for the activity of adults in their world, it only has validity as a discontinuous process in the name of "playing." Just as children play "Dracula," adults may integrate the world of Dracula, Bram Stoker's novel, with their adult world. Integration does occur in their experience but can only have a negative validity, since the world of Dracula is discontinuous with "this world" of the adult. The discontinuity between child and adult (so far) has proved irremovable in modern societies. A person can only switch, or jump, from one to the other and back. When an adult has allowed the child to emerge he may forget it intermittently or completely but he achieves in either case a state of "mind and heart," the child's,

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of which he knows (at least) afterwards that it cannot be achieved lastingly, that is, with positive validity for the adult's "this world." When Coleridge spoke of the "willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith" he had all kinds of "poetic" works in mind.28 In Abrams's view, "it is clear that Coleridge also enlarged his theory to account for the reader's attitude to realistic characters and events as well."29Wordsworth, too, included all kinds of "poetic" or "imaginative" works when he wrote of early man: "The imaginative faculty was lord / Of observations natural."30 On this view, early man and the child are unaware of such a faculty, they believe its products actual and real. Coleridge and Wordsworth are different; they know themselves to be late man, modern adults. But being also "poets," they are capable of willingly suspending their disbelief, that is, willingly allowing the child, early man, to emerge. Their imaginative faculty opens a (secularized) Kingdom of Heaven, a realm of eternity. Accordingly, for their "poetic" selves, too, the issue of possibility-impossibility does not really arise; it is all the same whether the "imaginative faculty" produces realistic or fantastic images. (What matters is that they cannot remain/retain the child.) This neutrality in regard to the possible and the impossible, however, goes much too far; it is unacceptably excessive to identify "imagination" with "the child," "judgment" with "the adult." In the same way, it is unacceptable to identify early man with the child. Early man does not observe whatever he imagines and he is not at all without judgment. And although the child-in children as well as in adults--may be unable to distinguish the possible from the impossible, actual children are quite painfully aware of the limitations of their own powers. The child may be father to the man but children know that their fathers, and adults in general, can do things which they themselves are unable to do. In addition, adults "willingly suspend disbelief" in different ways when they read a realistic story and when they read a fantastic one because different kinds of disbelief need to be suspended. In reading Anna Karenina I suspend disbelief in the actuality of those (particular) people and events without suspending belief in the possibility of the kinds of people and events. But in reading Dracula I must suspend disbelief also in the kind of person to which Count Dracula belongs. Dracula's world is "that world" for me, and if I playfully entertain that world it will be the child's world as far as the adult is concerned. Whether or not the child's world is always fantastic (for adults) is difficult to say; but fantastic fantasies belong to it as far as adults

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are concerned. The reality of fantastic stories resides in their demand to reconcile the adult with the child. This modern integrationwhich so far has been demanded rather than achieved--is much closer to the archaic integration of two worlds than to the integration of the individual with Divine Being beyond "this world" offered by universal religions. The romantic authors who discovered the child were modern interpreters of the child of Christian thought. Their child--secularized or not-was timeless, eternal; its action model was that of the play. Freud's theory was an attempt to inject real action, actuality, into the child, to discover its real life, and to relate such a fateexposed child to the adult. Freud has been criticized for conceiving of the primitives in terms of children.31 The criticism is well taken provided we bear in mind that he conceived of the child in terms of the adult. His theory divided the actual human continuum, by a natural discontinuity, into two separate and yet correlated structures whose successful integration was proposed by him to be the task. The modern integration so far has remained a demand; but this is why the demand which fantastic fantasies make on people has a valid function or role. What is real for moderns is not just the adult and the child but also their discontinuity and the demand for their integration. The fantastic is realized in a gap which cannot close, in a wound which cannot heal. It calls attention to the wound, teasing with satisfaction a desire which it cannot really satisfy. It satisfies this desire by not satisfying it.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY NOTES 1 This is a widely accepted view. For two dissimilar authorities see William Bascom, "The Form of Folklore: Prose Narratives," in Sacred Narrative. Readings in the Theory of Myth (Berkeley, 1984) and Mircea Eliade, Myth and Reality, tr. Willard R. Trask (New York, 1975). 2 For "frame" see Andras Sandor, "On the Concept of Verbal Work," in The Eighth LACUS Forum, 1981, ed. Waldemar Gutwinsky and Grace Jolly (Columbia, S.C., 1982), p. 439; Robert de Beaugrande, Text, Discourse, and Process: Towardsa Multidisciplinary Science of Texts (Norwood, N.J., 1980), p. 163; and Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind (New York, 1986), p. 265. De Beaugrande's impressive treatment of the issue, which relies, among others, on Minsky (Marvin Minsky, "A Framework for Representing Knowledge," in The Psychologyof ComputerVision, ed. Patrick Winston [New York, 1975]), considers frames as "configurations of knowledge" under the perspective of the agreement of elements "such that access of potentially relevant elements is provided" (p. 163). My own less ambitious treatment of the issue considers frames

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in speech-actional terms: frames are used for introducing texts (and offering reminders throughout the text-processing). This approach is still useful, I think, because de Beaugrande does not confront his distinct concepts of "frame" and "text-type" with one another. What I call frame is closer to what he discusses among the issues of text-type: "A single text can indeed be shifted from type to type by altering its situation of presentation . . . Although the text remains stable, the audience's processing procedures are placed under different controls and priorities" (p. 199). Moreover, in my view, frames do affect the processing of texts: the verbal sign complex is stable but the activated text, the work as it emerges, is not. Texts can be inserted in the wrong frame(s), and this need not be a wrong thing to do (cf. Sandor, p. 439). Mary Ann Caws's "reading frames" are used within a text, not for framing entire texts. See her Reading Frames in Modern Fiction (Princeton, 1985). They are indebted (p. 20) to Erving Goffmann's Frame Analysis (Cambridge, Mass., 1974) and are relatable to Minsky's views. Fowler dismisses the term for "genre theory." See Alastair Fowler, Kinds of Literature:An Introductionto the Theoryof Genres and Modes (Cambridge, Mass., 1982), p. 128. Minsky says that "those magic storystarting words arouse, in knowing listeners' minds, great hosts of expectation-frames to help the listeners. ... Beyond arousing all these specific expectations, 'once upon a time' plays one more crucial role: it says that what comes after it is fictional or, in any case, far too remote to activate much personal concern" (The Society of Mind, p. 265). My own speech-actional frame associated with "once upon a time" says not only "untrue story" (Minsky's "fiction") but also, for instance, "folk-tale" (as distinct from "popular legend" and all other kinds of story-frames). 3 This difference is missed by Kathryn Hume, Fantasy and Mimesis. Responses to Reality in WesternLiterature (New York, 1984). 4 For an example, see Gilles Deleuze's treatment of Alice's Adventuresin Wonderland in his Logique du sens (Paris, 1969). 5 Raimundo Panikkar, Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics:Cross-Cultural Studies (New York, 1979; pp. 39 f. and pp. 372 f.), argues against mixing up mythoswith logos in a very different context. His phrasing, though, sometimes could be adopted here, e.g., "mythology is the death of myth" (p. 39). Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy,tr. Alan Bates (Chicago, 1982), equating mythoswith logos, calls (Western) metaphysics "white mythology." In his own context, "myth" and "mythology" are strictly continuous notions. This continuity cannot be maintained if "myth" means "story." 6 Jiirgen Habermas, "Die Verschlingung von Mythos, und Aufklaerung. Bemerkungen zur Dialektikder Aufklaerung-nach einer neuen Lektiire,"in Mythosund Moderne. ed. Karl Heinz Bohrer (Frankfurt, 1983), p. 413; Begriff und Bild einer Rekonstruktion, my translation. 7 Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic:A StructuralApproachto a LiteraryGenre, tr. Richard Howard (Ithaca, N.Y., 1975), hereafter cited in text. 8 Though criticizing Todorov, Christine Brooke-Rose, A Rhetoricof the Unreal: Studies in Narrative and Structure,Especially of the Fantastic (Cambridge, 1983), basically adopts his theory of the fantastic (p. 71). She disagrees, among others, with Todorov's rejection of allegories as fantasies (pp. 68 f). Stanislav Lem, Microworlds:Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Franz Rottensteiner (San Diego, 1984), pp. 226 f., has voiced a similar criticism in a piece in which he, however, rejects Todorov's entire scheme. Had Caillois read Todorov, who argues against him (pp. 35 f.), he, too, would have disagreed with him. For Caillois, it is a basic stipulation that an event is noticed as certainly not belonging to the world as known: "The fantastic is not fantastic unless it appears as an inadmissable scandal for experience or reason" (Roger Caillois, Au coeur du fantastique [Paris, 1966], p. 30). But Caillois not only distinguishes the fantastic from the miraculous, he also rejects all completely fantastic

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worlds, the fables of mythologies and the mysteries of religions (p. 9), on account, not of their claimed reality, but of their systematic nature. For him, "The fantastic signifies in the first place inquietude and rupture" (p. 9). "The fantastic presupposes the solidity of the real world but only for the sake of better playing havoc with it" (Roger Caillois, Antologie du fantastique, vol. I [Paris, 1966], p. 10; my translation). The rupture, in other words, must occur for him within the story (or the painting, etc.) not between (the world of) the story and the actual world of the audience. 9 See M. H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism:Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature (New York, 1973). 10 See Georgi Schischkoff, PhilosophischesWdrterbuch (Stuttgart, 1961), p. 396. The principle is related to those of the Great Chain of Being and plenitude, as discussed by Lovejoy (Arthur O. Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being: A Study in the History of an Idea [Cambridge, Mass., 1961]). As to plenitude, see Michael J. White, Agency and Integrality. Philosophical Themesin the Ancient Discussion of Determinismand Responsibility (Dordrecht, 1985), pp. 1 ff., who comments: "What a strong appeal the plenitude principle still exercises in an era when it has been officially repudiated by logicians and mathematicians" (p. 2). White argues that the plenitude principle--"the principle that if something is possible, then it is the case some time or other"-cannot be found before Aristotle (pp. 5 f.). 11 Gottlob Frege, Schriften zur Logik und Sprachphilosophie,ed. Gottfried Gabriel (Hamburg, 1978), pp. 25, 32; hereafter cited in text. 12 See R. Horton and Ruth Finnegan, Modes of Thought: Essays on Thinking in Western and Non-Western Societies (London, 1973); Peter Winch, "Understanding a Primitive Society," in Religion and Understanding, ed. D. Z. Phillips (Oxford, 1967); and Hans G. Kippenberg, "Einleitung: Zur Kontroverse tiber das Verstehen fremden Kontroverse iiber das Verstehenfremden Denkens," in Magie. Die sozialwissenschaftliche Denkens, ed. Hans G. Kippenberg and Brigitte Luchesi (Frankfurt/M., 1978). 13 Gottfried Gabriel, "Logik und Sprachphilosophie bei Frege. Zum Verhiltnis von Gebrauchssprache, Dichtung und Wissenschaft," in Frege, Schriften, p. xxiii, my translation; hereafter cited in text. 14 Jan Mukarovsky, "Poetic Reference," in Semioticsof Art: Prague SchoolContributions, ed. Ladislav Matejka and Irwin R. Titunik (Cambridge, Mass., 1984), p. 106; hereafter cited in text. 15 This corresponds, I think, to the "poetic truth" which Gabriel had in mind as distinct from "scientific truth" (p. 9). 16 In principle, a story is parabolic without any regard to global relationship, and yet in practical terms global reference always is a factor. It entails a world scheme. 17 F. W. Galan, Historic Structures: The Prague School Project, 1928-1946 (Austin, 1985), pp. 117, 118, has proposed this. 18 See Eliade, Myth and Reality. 19 This is not a sheer illusion even from the point of view of a nonbelieving outsider. It is not a simple case of fetishism. The believer of a fetish does not know that the power which the fetish has (i.e., is believed to have) in fact is his own power. The believer of a community of descendants, by contrast, is aware of something which is actually the case. His power during ritual activation is both his own and that of the ancestors: the two really merge, even if the outsider will give a different explanation for how the merging is effected. 20 See Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Berkeley, 1977). Thompson discusses the legends under this inclusive term and distinguishes between popular legends and saints' legends. Degh and Vazsonyi use just one term, legend, but they clearly mean popular legends only, leaving religious legends undiscussed. See Linda Degh and Andrew Vazsonyi, "Legend and Belief," in FolkloreGenres,ed. Dan Ben-Amos (Austin, 1976).

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21 Cf. Lutz R6rich, Mdrchen und Wirklichkeit,2nd ed. (Stuttgart, 1964): "At any rate, localization and dating do not suffice by themselves to keep apart the genres of tales [Mdrchen] and legend [Sage], since there are many localized tales which are not legends (cf. p. 204), and removal of localization will make no legend a tale. Obviously, several characteristicsmust coincide in order to draw a clear line between tale and legend. A single characteristic will not do" (p. 12; my translation). 22 The Holy Communion of Christians involves ritual activation; the story of the Last Supper is a myth. Most of the stories of the New Testament, however, are popular legends. 23 See Claude Levi-Strauss, "The Effectiveness of Symbols," in his Structural Anthropology,tr. Claire Jakobson and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York, 1963), pp. 186-205. 24 Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, Selections,ed. Philip P. Wiener (New York, 1951), p. 527. 25 I am using an expression which Ezra Pound used for suggesting the nature of poetry. See Ezra Pound, "The Serious Artist," in Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, ed. T. S. Eliot (New York, 1968). I have no better way to express what the romantics' "child" was meant to be, even if I am aware that Pound's aggressiveness in this instance consisted in giving a due emphasis to the intellect, not to the emotions. 26 As for the child in English literature, see Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism,pp. 379 ff., 411 ff.; and Harold Bloom, The Visionary Company: A Reading of English Romantic Poetry, rev. and enlarged ed. (Ithaca, N.Y., 1971), pp. 173-82. For the child in psychological terms, see Jean Piaget and Baerbel Inhelder, The Psychologyof the Child, tr. Helen Weaver (New York, 1969), pp. 61 ff., who discuss "symbolic play" and distinguish it from dream symbolism in both its Freudian and Jungian varieties, saying that "since the child is anterior to the man and was so even in prehistoric times, it may be in the ontogenetic approach to the formative mechanisms of the semiotic function that the solution to the problem [of symbolism] will be found" (pp. 62-63). 27 Gilles Deleuze, Kant's Critical Philosophy: The Doctrine of the Faculties, tr. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (London, 1984), p. vii. 28 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (London, 1965), p. 169. 29 M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theoryand the Critical Tradition (New York, 1958), p. 324. 30 William Wordsworth, "The Excursion," in William Wordsworth:The Poems, ed. John O. Hayden (New Haven, Conn., 1981), II, 140, bk. 4, 11. 707-8; cited in Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp, p. 293. 31 Bronislaw Malinowski, Coral Gardens and Their Magic: A Study of the Methods of Tilling the Soil and of Agricultural Rites in The Trobriand Islands (New York, 1978). Malinowski criticized Freud for this indirectly when he asserted that magic was not idle daydreaming, not belief in the "omnipotence of thought," as Freud had claimed. Freud's analogy (between the archaic, the child, and the psychotic) could be reconsidered, however, in terms of event theory (see Irene Fast et al., Event Theory: A Piaget-Freud Integration [Hillsdale, N.J., 1985]) and so applied to thinking (see Robert E. Erard, "Concrete Thinking and the Categorical Attitude," in Event Theory [pp. 111-34]). In terms of this theory (which is intended to reconcile with one another Freud and Piaget) the child has no defined object; its knowledge is interactional: it knows what it does, and what it does happens. "Event" replaces Piaget's "action" and Freud's primary autism at a single stroke: the child has no defined self, selfidentity, which would make "action" and "autism" conceivable. See also Andre F. Favat, Child and Tale: The Origins of Interest (Urbana, Ill., 1977). Favat's findings, based on a critical acceptance of Piaget's work, are that children turn to fairy tales

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between the ages of six and eight, at a time when their world is changing. They regress because difficult decisions of adjustment are forced on them: "the child must turn to the fairy tale for a reaffirmation of his original conception of the worlda world preserved in the tale, unchanged and unchallenged" (p. 49). Older children turn away from fairy tales; interest returns around the age of eighteen to twenty and then it "seems to continue throughout adult life" (p. 56).