Friday, December 9, 2011

final definition

Now that the semester is coming to a close I want to take some time to blast open the definition of "urban fantasy." It appears that the class definition has morphed over the course of the term and it is rather interesting that our definition seems to stretch and distend with each passing week. After reading City of Glass we appeared to remove Todorov's idea of the "marvelous" as an absolute necessity. Master and Margarita removed urban fantasy from only being applied to the last few decades. I think that Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union would greatly open up our definition even further. Although Chabon's work has elements of the archetypal noir novel, his creation of a parallel history in a space that is both familiar and new incorporates many of the elements of class definition and discussion. The fantastic for Chabon is the historical manipulation (there are no vampires, demons, etc. within the text) in which Israel collapses and an independent Jewish state is established along the coast of Alaska. I think that by extending the definition outward the term urban fantasy is not ultimately meaningless but instead, it gives urban fantasy greater weight and depth. This is seemingly important in scholarship as it is also delimiting in terms of the genre. What do we think?

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