By William Horwood
Because the excellent occasions of Duncton wooden ended, Tryfan, son of Bracken and Rebecca, was once entrusted with a unique job – to accompany the previous scribemole Boswell again to the Holy Burrows of Uffington and take the 7th Stillstone to its rightful resting position. yet a depressing evil is spreading throughout moledom, whispering falseness to the vulnerable and giving corrupt energy to the crafty and faithless and their job might be easy…
‘A passionate, lyrical, attractive tale…’ Cosmopolitan
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Additional resources for Duncton Quest (The Duncton Chronicles, Book 2)
Psychic ambivalence, as Angus Fletcher reminded us in his superb, path-breaking book, Allegory, does not mean mixed feelings but rather a mixture of diametrically opposed feelings, usually related to a concept of taboo. If the extreme degree of ambivalence is, as Fletcher said, irony or allegory, we need to remember that for Freud the masterpiece of psychic ambivalence was the Oedipal conflict. This conflict emerged for Freud most vividly both in the taboo and in the psychoanalytical transference, but I think that Freud always repressed his rather shady basing of the structure of the transference upon the structure of the taboo.
Yet I will assert for it a greatness that few contemporary critics might grant, and part of that greatness is the book's near-perfection in a particular kind of romance invention, as once it would have been called, that kind we have agreed to call fantasy. I am moved by Eric Rabkin's insight when, in his recent anthology of fantasy, he places A Voyage to Arcturus together with Alice in Wonderland in his range (10) category of fantasy, meaning the outer limit of the mode, after which I suppose we would pass into a strange new Scripture, a revelation like that of the Gnostic Valentinus or of Joachim of Flora.
I invoke Carlyle deliberately, because he is the tutelary spirit who Page 2 informs Lindsay's frightening romance, which is a direct descendant of Sartor Resartus. Indeed Carlyle himself, I take it, is the perhaps unconscious model for the god or demi-god Krag, just as Walter Pater and his disciple Oscar Wilde served Lindsay as repressed models for Krag's adversary, Crystalman or Shaping. But I will postpone an account of the Carlyle-Pater agon in A Voyage to Arcturus until I have explored some opening aspects of my clinamen or ironic swerve into a beginning for a theory of fantasy.
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