chapter  7
14 Pages


Various semantic transformations of literary fantasy from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century have been explained by shifts in ideas and beliefs. A gradual displacement of residual supernaturalism and magic, an increasingly secularized mode of thought under capitalism, produced radical changes in interpretations and presenta­

Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

tions of otherness, i.e. of the demonic, with which fantasy has traditionally concerned itself. These shifts record a move away from orthodox demonology towards psychology, to account for difference and strangeness. Literary fantasies from The Castle of Otranto to Jekyll and Hyde are determined by these transitions: from conventional diabolism in Beckford’s Vathek, through the equivocations of Frankenstein, Melmoth and The Confessions of a Justified Sinner, to the inter­ nalized figures of Dorian Gray or the self-generated ‘ghosts’ of The Turn of the Screw and The Jolly Corner.