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Dragons à vapeur : vers une poétique de la fantasy néo-victorienne contemporaine

Abstract : Fantasy became an official genre of speculative fiction with J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, while the neo-Victorian novel emerged in the 1960s as a contemporary rewriting of the historical and literary canon of the nineteenth century: where the two meet, the steam dragons of neo-Victorian fantasy take flight. At the crossroads of several genres and sub-genres, it is a literature of paradoxes, caught between progress and regret, speculation and nostalgia. The Victorian era was the setting of fantasy’s first birth in the 1890s, and it also witnessed the appearance of several types of genre fiction and speculative fiction (the detective novel, the fantastic, horror and science-fiction) which grew out of the eighteenth-century Gothic novel. The family tree of speculative fiction needs to be laid out if one is to understand hybrid contemporary genres like urban fantasy and steampunk, which comprise most of neo-Victorian fantasy. The taxonomy itself serves to explore the poetical and political dimension: we strive to define the precise meaning of the prefix neo- and distinguish the moments when the neo-Victorian becomes neo-Conservative. What kind of commitment does neo-Victorian fantasy enact, as a type of literature anchored in the present, which interrogates and transforms the Victorian past? From travels on dragonback to the inheritance of the British Empire, from the depths of London to the parallel worlds of alternative history, from zombies to fanfictions, the search for a poetics leads us question the impact that fiction has on our worldview.
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Caroline Duvezin-Caubet. Dragons à vapeur : vers une poétique de la fantasy néo-victorienne contemporaine. Littératures. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR2023⟩. ⟨tel-01680496⟩

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