An Auteurist Journey through the Fantastic Mode: A Case Study of Ho Meng-hua

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Abstract

In her seminal book Fantasy and Mimesis, Kathryn Hume seeks the most inclusive definition of fantasy, settling on the term 'fantasy impulse' alongside a 'mimetic impulse' as equally important to Western literature. Mimesis, for Hume, is 'felt as the desire to imitate, to describe events, people, situations, and objects with such verisimilitude that others can share your experience', whilst fantasy indicates 'the desire to change givens and alter reality - out of boredom, play, vision, longing for something lacking. or need for metaphoric images that will bypass the audience's verbal defense', all literature, in Hume's formulation is informed by these two impulses, to varying degrees. Fantasy in this sense establishes itself as a natural activity rather than a niche genre, and we - as Hume cautions - need not 'claim a work as a fantasy any more than we identify a work as a mimesis'. This notion of two core impulses in literature - namely fantasy and mimesis - is aligned with much of the writing on early film history, which conventionally identifies as Siegfried Kracauer puts it, ' two main tendencies', expressed in the contrasting approaches in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, of the 'strict realist' Lumiere brother on one hand, and on the other George Melies, who 'gave free reign to his artistic imagination' in films such as A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans da lune, 1902) and Indian Rubber Head (L'Homme a la tete de caoutchouc, 1902).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSino-Enchantment : The Fantastic in Contemporary Chinese Cinemas
EditorsKenneth CHAN, Andrew STUCKEY
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Chapter6
Pages112-127
ISBN (Electronic)9781474460866
ISBN (Print)9781474460842
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Studies in East Asian Film
PublisherEdinburgh University Press Studies

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