Beyond the Boundaries of Humanist Ethics in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians
Tony Vinci explains how Lev Grossman’s The Magicians suggests a new way of reading YA fantasy, not just as a privileged anthropocentric human reading escapist literature, reifying the boundary between reality and fantasy. Since the now-commodified set of expectations for fantasy to be unsettling are no longer as effective for readers, Grossman’s meta-fiction enables readers to view all realities as linguistic constructs. Thus when Quentin Coldwater and his magicians-in-training friends cross over into Narnia-like Fillory, they are encouraged to acknowledge the porous border between reality and fantasy, to recognize the “posthumanist ethics of vulnerability and radical openness to the Other, within and without.” But Quentin resists, even as a magical animal-human, clinging to traditional humanist values, and refuses to experience “becoming-with Otherness.”
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