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A mode of fiction in which the possible and the impossible are confounded so as to leave the reader (and often the narrator and/or central character) with no consistent explanation for the story's strange events. Tzvetan Todorov, in his Introduction à la littérature fantastique (1970; translated as The Fantastic, 1973), argues that fantastic narratives involve an unresolved hesitation between the supernatural explanation available in marvellous tales and the natural or psychological explanation offered by tales of the uncanny. The literature of the fantastic flourished in 19th‐century ghost stories and related fiction: Henry James's mysterious tale The Turn of the Screw (1898) is a classic example.

Subjects: Literature.

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