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Critique this phrase posted 09 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Fantasy is a medium in which the proletariat can expresses their desires and fears in such a way as to diffuse bourgeois fears, while still communicating their anger and frustration to present and future fellow proletarians.

And before you ask who wrote that, that is me just summing up what I've gathered from reading a few Marxist writers of cultural and social history. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Hold on- is that trying to say that the writers are the proletariat? Or simply that they try to express proletariat views through fantasy?

Thanks. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

In the way that I understood the connection, it's the storytellers, those who related their life experiences via fantastic stories, that are the bearers of what became proletarian/plebian culture. So basically, yes.

Of course, it's interesting, seeing as I also posted this on OF, that so many were quick to presume that I was a Marxist. That's not exactly true, needless to say, although it's not completely false either. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Somehow I don't really see fantasy as being the driving force behind proletariat..especially not in modern times, it seems that the proletariat and bourgeoisie have become less strictly seperate (other than in the literal senses of the term of course). view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Fantasy is not meant to be a driving force. In fact, traditional Marxist accounts have tended to view Fantasy as being little more than religion in terms of being like an opiate, because of the perceived tendency for fantasy to diffuse societal tension.

But recent historiography is starting to view this in a different light, concentrating more on how proles expressed themselves in music, wine, and song and this increased scrutiny has led to reconsiderations about the importance that fantasy can play in real-world situations. Is it merely an "escape," or could fantasy be seen as an oblique criticism of bourgeois society? It's an interesting approach and while I'm hesitant to embrace it (seeing other factors playing important roles as well), I must say that it has me intrigued.

But be careful about presuming a convergence between proles and bourgeois, because that creates a false blurring of the past, when there were very real and significant differences. I'm looking at this from the perspective of those writing 150-250 years ago, not of working class authors of today. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Okay, I understand now. I think that's definately an intriguing view, since fantasy is a medium read by many, and so subtle (or not so subtle) criticisms and attacks on the bourgeoisie could be read by quite a large audience- so I see how it would make sense for the authors.

I'm not talking about the past, but rather recently. It just seems to me that from your 150-250 years ago to today, the line between prole and bourgeois has gotten rather closer. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

But recent historiography is starting to view this in a different light, concentrating more on how proles expressed themselves in music, wine, and song and this increased scrutiny has led to reconsiderations about the importance that fantasy can play in real-world situations.


I'd be interested to check this out, Aldarion. What madness are you reading now? <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

E.P. Thompson's Customs in Common, Robert Darnton's The Great Cat Massacre, Foucault's "Society Must Be Defended: Lectures 1976, and about to re-read Carlo Ginzburg's The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a 16th Century Miller.

From these, I'm starting to get the sense that in order to place Fantasy within a historical context, one is going to have to accept that there really isn't one Fantasy type. Instead, it seems (and my readings are confirming this suspicion) that one must first look at the divisions within the cultures under question before even considering analyzing the fantasy that was produced. In some senses, it's a glorified way of remembering the intended audiences for said fantasy works - Vergil's Aeneid might have similar structural techniques as that employed in The Odyssey, but there are a great many differences in tone and intent for the stories that have to be considered.

Furthermore, and back to the part you selected, recent research (and Darnton's book is already a classic in the field after a mere 20 years) has indicated that the peasant classes and their urban proletariat heirs often used allegorical stories to relate in coded form their daily experiences in an idealized state. For example, in many of the earliest written-down fairy tales (before the Grimm brothers or Andersen bastardized and sanitized them) dealt frankly with issues such as starvation, official corruption, the complex negotiations between neighbors and the frequent backstabbings that followed such deals, and rigid social structures. When I finished reading Darnton's book, I reflected upon many of the older fantasies I've read and realized that there is quite a bit of allegorical commentary and critique of then-present social/cultural conditions embedded within the story frames.

All of this reading is starting to help me with my proposed essay on the historical connections that fantasy has with real-life conditions. Thought you'd be interested in this, especially since you were the one who suggested that I not be afraid to take a historicist approach toward the topic <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Sound very cool! I definitely need to check out that Darnton and Foucault.

Don't get too lost in the categorization question: those who attack on this front typically do so because it's an easy place to set up strawmen. All you need do is qualify your position regarding 'generic family resemblances' and the like. You might even want to use the good old genetic analogy to rough out the relationships: even though the Aeneid and tLoTR share many of the same genotypes, the way these genotypes are expressed - their phenotypes - is a function of historical context. view post


Critique this phrase posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Quote: &quot;Cu'jara Cinmoi&quot;:1rudp812
Sound very cool! I definitely need to check out that Darnton and Foucault.

Don't get too lost in the categorization question: those who attack on this front typically do so because it's an easy place to set up strawmen. All you need do is qualify your position regarding 'generic family resemblances' and the like. You might even want to use the good old genetic analogy to rough out the relationships: even though the Aeneid and tLoTR share many of the same genotypes, the way these genotypes are expressed - their phenotypes - is a function of historical context.[/quote:1rudp812]

Interesting way of phrasing that - never thought of expressing ideological kinships in biological terms.

I'll do my best to be careful about the categorizations. In fact, I'm really intrigued by the possibility that a large percentage of popular fantasy originates from times of crisis, such as demographic pressures, famines, and adaptations to technological revolutions. But I'll have to tread carefully here as well, as my reading of Thompson has shown, discussing social conditions can be quite treacherous indeed.

I'm just relieved that I seem to be closer to finding a good method of attack for this thorny problem we've been discussing for a month now! One interesting side effect of these recent readings is that I'm remembering again what it is about neo-Marxism that has fascinated me so much over the years. I wonder if that's a confession I should make in public <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Critique this phrase posted 11 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Ok, now I've been thinking about this all day (hey, it was band camp for twelve hours, nothing better to do <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> ), so I've come up with some thoughts at least. If you see fantasy as having been a genre through which the proletariat can write unpunished criticism of the bourgeosie society, what do you think are the roots of fantasy? I don't believe that society has always been split along those lines, at what point did it become as such, and if fantasy existed before then, what was it like and how did it evolve? Also, I think that fantasy couldn't be the sole domain of the proletariat, do you suggest that the bourgeoisie was not party to reading or writing of fantasy? view post


Critique this phrase posted 11 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:2f3w1d2e
Ok, now I've been thinking about this all day (hey, it was band camp for twelve hours, nothing better to do <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> ), so I've come up with some thoughts at least. If you see fantasy as having been a genre through which the proletariat can write unpunished criticism of the bourgeosie society, what do you think are the roots of fantasy? I don't believe that society has always been split along those lines, at what point did it become as such, and if fantasy existed before then, what was it like and how did it evolve? Also, I think that fantasy couldn't be the sole domain of the proletariat, do you suggest that the bourgeoisie was not party to reading or writing of fantasy?[/quote:2f3w1d2e]

I suspect Scott and I have had quite a few people thinking at quite a few sites for quite a few days over these issues <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->

If I had to guess at the roots of fantasy, I would have to say it all goes back to historia, the Art of storytelling. Before being divided into "fiction" and "non-fiction" and later into various disciplines, historia included those elements that enabled a society to pass along its wisdom, learning, and fears (among other things) to successive generations via the use of stories, many of which are metaphorical in nature. From this, the phanein (Greek for "unveiling, revelation", which is the root word for things from phantasm to fantasy) approach of using symbols and imaginative descriptions to be a method of imparting important truth-values. This is neither Patrician nor Plebian in its origins.

However, and this is where I'm influenced by all the training I received from neo-Marxist historians comes in, at some point (likely around the time that cultures evolved into structures more complex than familial/clan relationships to deal with ever more complex social problems) there came to be a division between those who had the power and those who didn't have much political say. Traditions developed in both camps and each were used to support/tear down (depending upon the situation) the then-current socio-political situation. For example, a legend that the Caesar family was descended from the Trojan Aeneas became the germ for Vergil's epic poem, The Aeneid. While it uses tropes such as gods/goddesses, fantastic voyages, mysterious benefactors/enemies, and magical weapons, the intent of that poem was to glorify the Emperor's mythical ancestors. Shakespeare did much the same in Macbeth with the parade of kings that were descended from Banquo were shown in a vision.

But that is just one connection between fantasy and contemporary socio-political affairs. Another would be the fairy tales that I mentioned above - those are descendents of an ancient oral tradition, one that was starting to die out in the late 17th century, although vestiges of this culture are still around in isolated pockets, such as the Applachian Mountains of the United States.

All I was doing by summing up in a sentence what I had gleaned from the authors I mentioned earlier is just proposing one thread out of a tapestry. My intent was to get people to think about those connections and to make statements that would show that thinking has progressed beyond a simple yes/no. In some ways, I think the debates Scott and I have started at three different forum (well, him mostly starting it in email with me and then urging me to start writing about it and posting it elsewhere <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->) have had a very positive effect at the places where this discussion (in its many forms) has taken place. It's been a very cool and posture-free experience and likely has given quite a few a lot more to think about the next time they read a Tolkien, a Salvatore, a Vergil, a fairy tale, or any other story that they might read.

Because let's face it, isn't it about time that people involved in the Fantasy/Literature debate consider this from a Historicist position as well as a literary criticism one? view post


Critique this phrase posted 11 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Ah, I see. Well, I think it's interesting to look at from a historical/cultural viewpoint. It's not something that I know too much about, so it's interesting to think about, explore a bit beyond simply criticism on the literary level.

What other sites do you have this debate going on? view post


Critique this phrase posted 11 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Well, just started it in part at OF and it's been raging for a month or so over at SFF World. Those are the other two sites besides this one. view post


Critique this phrase posted 12 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

As far as I understand the statement and I could be wrong its just saying that the Fantasy Authors are writing hidden messages within thier work that refers to the situation in which they are living as a message to future generations. Much in the same way the McCarthyism was used in a large number of 1950's film such as Forbidden Planet (the AI in the film was shown to be a giant red bear in the lasers.)

I really think that this is cobblers, you could look at any peice of writing and claim to see hidden messages. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings is still thought of to highlight the second world war. In a limited leatherbound edition of LotR there was a special foreward by Tolkien that denied it saying that the novel was written before the second world war and that he'd been using a large number of notes to write the novel as he wanted. Its just jumped up little twits that seem to constantly go on about this. view post


Critique this phrase posted 13 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Grantaire, Moderator

Dros, I don't think that Larry is saying that the messages are really hidden. Rather that the proletariat writers of fantasy used it for unpunished social commentary and criticism. Is that right Larry? view post


Critique this phrase posted 13 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

Quote: &quot;drosdelnoch&quot;:4ffxth4b
As far as I understand the statement and I could be wrong its just saying that the Fantasy Authors are writing hidden messages within thier work that refers to the situation in which they are living as a message to future generations. Much in the same way the McCarthyism was used in a large number of 1950's film such as Forbidden Planet (the AI in the film was shown to be a giant red bear in the lasers.)

I really think that this is cobblers, you could look at any peice of writing and claim to see hidden messages. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings is still thought of to highlight the second world war. In a limited leatherbound edition of LotR there was a special foreward by Tolkien that denied it saying that the novel was written before the second world war and that he'd been using a large number of notes to write the novel as he wanted. Its just jumped up little twits that seem to constantly go on about this.[/quote:4ffxth4b]

What I was writing was a paraphrasing of others. As to what I myself think, I believe that those who compose stories tend to include subconsciously (if not consciously and with full intent) matters in their lives that act as a statement on the times in which they were written.

Also, Tolkien's comment is almost irrelevant. Interpretation and meaning go far beyond an author's intent. Once the last period has been placed on the work, the author has very little to no say as to how his/her work will be interpreted. It's the history of interpretation that's really fascinating to me.

Besides, if you want to go the controversial route, do you think the Bible as a whole has changed in much of its interpretative value over the millenia? <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


Critique this phrase posted 13 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Well there are many interpretations that claim that the original was mistranslated, lol. There is also thinking that there is a hidden code within for those with eyes to read and ears to hear that could be understood. The deadsea scrolls seem to support this to a certain extent. There you go is that controversial enough for you?

As to an author having no say about the interpretations made about thier work, why shouldnt they, if the people think that there is a message hidden then the author has a right to argue against it. The whole thing is that its thier belief, perhaps it could be better argued that spiritual messages that the authors believe in are passed on through thier work. After all how long will it take for the cults to follow this route. After all there is a Frodo Live cult as well as probably some others. Who knows maybe religion will become a franchise supported by companies. The whole thing that needs to be looked at is that its just one persons opinnion, you could also argue that fairytales contain hidden metaphores for the time that they were written. In fact all fiction contains hidden meaning not just a specific genre. view post


Critique this phrase posted 12 March 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by Sokar, Auditor

I would say that the statement is fully correct, however, taking Fantasy in its broadest possible meaning. Fantasy is not merely a story telling, for me it is the myths of the past, the Gods, the Ancestors and whoever else you have from the surreal world. After all it is these that have ignited the fantasy of today. By including these types of fantasy, I would say that fantasy can indeed be, and has been, a medium of desires and fears.
This does not, however, mean that proletariat is the only one using this medium, I would even say that it is the bourgeois, until recently, that has used the medium. Fantasy has been, in my opinion, the law, which in whatever society, is created for the sole protection of the bourgeois first, and only after as the protection of the mass. This is a different descussion though.

To the other point stated out, I would not agree that there has been a blur between the bourgeois and the proletariat, I would call it a shift, but only in economic perspective. view post


Critique this phrase posted 25 April 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by MrJims, Commoner

Fantasy is simply a medium. The writer can uses it in many ways.

As for social implications. Utopia by thomas moore anyone. view post


Critique this phrase posted 27 April 2006 in Philosophy DiscussionCritique this phrase by vercint, Peralogue

I agree completely. Terry Goodkind doesn't write about the proletariat and their struggles, that's for sure. No, he writes about the greatness of the human spirit, it is known.

Oh, wait, I forgot. TG writes Speculative Fiction, not Epic Fantasy... view post


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