Debate on the merits of fantastic literature
The possible “value” of “fantastic” or non-mimetic literature has been the subject of an on-going debate. There is, obviously, the dispute between these critics (and academics) who regard non-mimetic literature to be inferior to truly “literary” mainstream fiction and deprived of “literary merit” and those who defend it. Additionally, within the proper field of “fantastic” literature criti-cism there exists an interesting, largely theoretical (but partly also ideological) argument about the merit of particular fantastic genres and cognitive modes that seem to be inherent to those genres. Finally, the status of particular works of fantastic fiction is often debated or questioned.
The present paper attempts to initialize a comprehensive discussion on the merits of non-mi-metic (fantastic) literature. It summarizes the previous discourse on the subject and searches for the reasons of various discrepancies and confusion shrouding the field. It also undertakes to dem-onstrate that these discrepancies result primarily from different criteria applied, which are, in turn, determined not only by arbitrary tastes, but, first of all, by methodological, aesthetic, cognitive, and ideological approaches.
The whole discussion will, hopefully, prepare the ground for an attempt to approximate poten-tial merits of the whole of non-mimetic fiction and analyze them initially from structural, cognitive, or cultural angles.