Folklore and Graffiti: A (Potential) Study of Spatial Tactics and Urban Fantasy (Part II)

When we left off last week, I was trying to prove that graffiti interrupts the rational order of the city, as a spatial tactic, and therefore can be compared to urban fantasy, inasmuch as it too subverts conventional "consensus reality." I quoted Bramley Dapple in Charles de Lint's short story “Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair,”  who says, …

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Folklore and Graffiti: A (Potential) Study of Spatial Tactics and Urban Fantasy (Part I)

While conducting my research into urban fantasy, the subject of my SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Committee) grant proposal, I was stricken by a sudden inspiration. A few images and lines from scholarly texts united in my mind and I saw something bold in the connections. While the following essay is in no sense …

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Julian the Magician by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Julian the Magician is the work of a poet of the mythic, the magical, and the exotic: Gwendolyn MacEwen. Although she is better known for her poetry--and mostly, I suspect, by academics rather than the general public--I recommend reading her today. Her style is a "sort of powerful poetic mad half-abandoned prose somewhere between [Kenneth] …

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Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Every once in a while, I pick up a book that inspires me into creativity and haunts my dreams. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville is one such book, a celebration of the alien, the urban, and the grotesque. New Crobuzon is a corrupt city with an underground network of criminals--only a part of whom …

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Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje

Before jazz became what it is today, before it was mainstream, Buddy Bolden blew his cornet in the streets of New Orleans. No recording of his music survives. A famous musician in his time, his genius and the threat of vanishing into silence tormented him. The quest Michael Ondaatje undertook in 1976 to discover the …

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