Fabricating Histories: Steampunk, Neo-Victorianism, and the Fantastic

Interesting Literature

By Claire Nally

A new exhibition on Steampunk and Neo-Victorian culture opens in November – entitled Fabricating Histories, it explores the ways in which we can think about, and challenge, the legacy of history. Dr Claire Nally, co-curator of the exhibition at the Discovery Museum (Tyne & Wears Archives and Museums) in Newcastle, explains what steampunk is, and why it might be important…

John Clute’s book Pardon This Intrusion: Fantastika in the World Storm (2011), defines the term ‘fantastika’ and is a useful stating point to approach steampunk, as ‘fantastika’ refers to the non-mimetic, and offers an articulation of alternative reality in fiction. Clute maintains ‘fantastika’ is marked by the visibility of ‘the engine of history, round about 1800, when the future began’ (p. 3). Like much Neo-Victorian fiction generally, fantastika is marked by self-conscious storytelling. In common with this, steampunk flags up its anachronism and fictionality. As…

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