Title

The Axes of Fantasy: A Lacanian Exploration of Time and Space

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Todd McGowan

Abstract

While the work (the what) of fantasy is widely theorized, its workings (the how) remain largely unexplored. The first chapter of the text forwards a Lacanian theory of fantasy that relies on the intersection of linear time and physical space. Using a variety of texts—Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together, and Leonora Sansay’s Secret History; or the Horrors of St. Domingo among them—I argue that time and space constitute the axes along which we plot our desire. It is time and space that uphold the fantasy structure of reality, that both project our desire and protect us from it. The process of mapping desire onto these axes is one of signification, desire ultimately proves untranslatable

The second chapter works to examine how ideology is informed by and interacts with fantasy. It is essential for the functioning of ideology that fantasy is constructed via time and space. For instance, Capitalism does not function without some notion of linear progression, of forward momentum. Ideology leverages the subject’s spatiotemporal relationship to their own desire towards its own reproduction.

Finally, in my third chapter, I examine how non-normative narrative structure can interrupt the fantasy-scene. I locate this discussion primarily in the realm of queer theory, a branch of literary criticism long invested in disrupting standard and ideological chronologies. Working with James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together I explore how form can work to undermine the reality of fantasy and delve into what destabilizing this reality accomplishes.

Language

en

Number of Pages

61 p.

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