…the symbolic order functions like Kant’s transcendental screen, through which reality is rendered accessible and which, nonetheless, simultaneously prevents our direct access to it.
-Slavoj Zizek, Traversing the Fantasy
Marcel Brion regards the fantastic as that kind of perception ‘qui ouvre sur les plus vastes espaces‘ (which opens onto the widest spaces). It is this opening activity which is disturbing, by denying the solidity of what had been taken to be real. Bataille has referred to this kind of infraction as ‘une déchirure’, a tear, or wound, laid open in the side of the real. The same violent ‘opening’ of syntactic order can be found in Lautréamont, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Surrealism, Artaud, etc. and from this perspective, fantastic works of the last two centuries are clear antecedents of modernist texts, such as Joyce’s Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, with their commitment to disintegration.1
For Sartre, the fantastic tale told of…
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