chapter
Some approaches, ancient and modern
WithAnderson Graham
Pages 11

Few modern analyses of the fantastic deal in any detail with the repertoire available in antiquity, though they might allude to it occasionally by way of illustration. Modern theory is tempting to take a starting point from Todorov, writing of the fantastic in fiction. He begins with J. Cazotte’s story Le Diable amoureux, in which one Alvaro has been living for a month with a female creature whom he believes to be an evil spirit—the devil or one of his minions. But in some respects she seems to be human; she confesses to being a sylph. If most modern students of fantasy have more or less by-passed Lucian’s Verae Historiae, one recent treatment, Karen ni Mheallaigh’s Reading Fiction with Lucian, has undertaken the task of making it central to theories of mimesis and reader-relationships. In particular, ní Mheallaigh is concerned with the passage in 1.26 where Lucian examines a moon-mirror.