‘Vagary wild and mental aberration styled’;1 liminality in the fantasmatic spaces of Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market (1862) and Richard Dadd’s The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (1864), Alexandra Gushurst-Moore
Through a comparison of this painting and poem, I will examine how the motif of the public forum functions as a liminal space within the fantastic setting. Engaging with structuralist critics such as Tsvetan Todorov and Rosemary Jackson, I will conclude that the effect of this motif on the narrative mirrors the effect which the fantasy genre itself has on the wider literary or artistic experience, thereby enacting a microcosmic experience of the fantastic mode. Within the fairy forum, action is stimulated by situating multiple races within a local space. The liminal space of the fantastic forum therefore becomes a veritable ‘world between worlds’ in which desire is explored and, paradoxically, rationalized. Through interrogating the relationship that these works have with the themes of psychoanalysis and sexual desire, I will conclude my argument with the assertion that writers and authors of Victorian Britain used fantasy as a means of exploring the unconscious through an engagement with supernatural forms.