Dreaming into hyperspace

the Victorian spatial imagination and the origins of modern fantasy in MacDonald and Carroll

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter posits that the origins of the modern fantasy genre can be located in the Victorian correlation between the space of dreams and the supernatural world, and the Victorian's exploration of these spaces through the new development of non-Euclidean geometry and its related notions of higher-dimensional space, or hyperspace. Using historicised literary analysis, this chapter identifies crucial turning points in the literary exploration of these ideas in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and George MacDonald’s Phantastes and Lilith. Through their exploration of these new kinds of spaces, this chapter argues, these texts mark the emergence of the secondary worlds associated with the modern fantasy genre.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInforming the Inklings
Subtitle of host publicationGeorge MacDonald and the Victorian roots of modern fantasy
EditorsMichael Partridge, Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson
Place of PublicationHamden, USA
PublisherWinged Lion Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781935688204
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • literature
  • Fantasy fiction--History and criticism
  • fantasy genre
  • dreams
  • dream-visions
  • space
  • space and place
  • genre
  • Victorian England
  • nineteenth century
  • supernatural
  • literary criticism

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