The Fantastic versus Realism

Our Research Team on Fantastic Literature (University of Białystok, Poland) is pleased to invite everyone to its third conference

The Fantastic versus Realism and their relevance as literary conventions


which will be held in Białystok on November 16-17, 2017.

The first conference, which focused on religious motifs in fantastic literature, was held in 2012 and followed by the publication of a monograph entitled Motywy religijne we współczesnej fantastyce [Religious Motifs in Contemporary Fantastic Literature] in 2014. The second conference, whose focus was on the philological and historical aspects of fantastic literature, was held in 2015 and soon we will publish the volume Tekstowe światy fantastyki [Textual Worlds of Fantastic Literature]. This year, we welcome contributions on one of the following topics:


  1. Classic definitions of the fantastic (Todorov, Caillos, Lem, Attebery and Mendlesohn) and their applicability in contemporary literary studies.
  2. Various approaches to defining fantastic literature (structuralism, genre studies, intertextuality, pragmatism).
  3. Taxonomy of fantastic literature: genres (fantasy, science fiction, horror) and subgenres (science fantasy, urban fantasy etc.) in the context of recent theoretical approaches.
  4. Poetics of fantastic literature in comparison with realism and modernism.
  5. Fantastic literature of the 20th and 21st century in the context of mainstream literature.
  6. Fantastic literature and the transformations of the novel (realism – modernism – postmodernism)
  7. Social and cultural functions of the fantastic (escapism, rebellion, mitopoesis, Bildungsroman, futurology, “games of imagination”).
  8. Borders of the fantastic – classic literary texts employing elements of the uncanny (eg. Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, Arthur Conan Doyle, etc.) and contemporary definitions of fantastic literature.
  9. Postmodernist games with realism (Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nobokov, William S. Burroughs, Chuck Palahniuk, Wiktor Pielewin, Władimir Sorokin, Wiktor Jerofiejew) and their links with fantastic literature.
  10. Figurative reference to non-fictional reality, the extension of mimesis (allegory, hyperbole, grotesque, absurd).
  11. Fantastic literature as pararealism: the tropes of realist convention exploited by fantastic fiction, the fiction of alternative worlds (allotopia) as “redirected” realism.
  12. “Twilight zone” or magic realism? – between realistic and fantastic fiction (J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Carroll).
  13. Historical fantasy– links between historical realism, historical novel and fantastic fiction (Celtic fantasy, medievalist fantasy, Arthurian fantasy, steampunk, alternative history, etc.).
  14. Social, cultural and political dimensions of RPG, MMORPG, etc.
  15. Fantastic fiction and global changes (eco-fantasy, climate fiction, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic visions, issues of gender and ethnic identity, gender construction in fantastic literature).


We are proud to announce that our keynote speaker is going to be

Professor Paweł Frelik from Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin,

who will deliver a lecture entitled

“Gwiezdne trony: science fiction, gry wideo, polityka”.



The conference will be followed by the publication of a monograph in 2018.


The conference fee, which will cover the costs of coffee breaks, official dinner and publication, is PLN 400 / EUR 110 (PLN 300 / EUR 70 for doctoral students). Participants are invited to submit their proposals in the form of 150-word abstracts to by September 30th 2017. Notices of acceptance will be sent by October 10th 2017. The languages of the conference will be Polish, English and Russian.



Kind regards,


Scientific and Organizing Committee:

Members of the Research Team on Fantastic Literature

Dr Mariusz Leś (Institute of Polish Philology) – Head of the Research Team on Fantastic Literature

Dr Weronika Łaszkiewicz (Institute of Modern Languages) – Head of the Organizing Committee

Dr Weronika Biegluk-Leś (Institute of Eastern-Slavic Philology)

Dr Sylwia Borowska-Szerszun (Institute of Modern Languages)

Dr Piotr Stasiewicz (Institute of Polish Philology)

Dr Karolina Wierel (Culture and Media Studies Center)

Mgr Ewelina Feldman-Kołodziejuk (Institute of Modern Languages) – Conference Secretary

Mgr Rafał Modzelewski (Institute of Modern Languages)


The conference is co-organized by:

Książnica Podlaska im. Łukasza Górnickiego w Białymstoku

For more information visit our website








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