The History of Religions, Read as Fantasy: On the Construction of (Religious) Ambiguity in the Television Show Lost

Johannsen, Dirk and Kirsch, Anja. (2016) The History of Religions, Read as Fantasy: On the Construction of (Religious) Ambiguity in the Television Show Lost. Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 28 (2-3). pp. 164-178.

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With its intricate ‘mythology’, ABC drama series Lost invited for a wide range of religious interpretation. Starting off as a survivor drama, the show evolved into a fantastic epos, in which the pilot episode’s initial question “Where are we?” triggered reflections on ‘Where do we come from? Where are we going? What are we?’ and was finally passed on to the world religions. Against the backdrop of Tzvetan Todorov’s and Marianne Wünsch’s work on the fantastic, we translated literary scholar Wolfgang Iser’s aesthetic response theory into a tool for analyzing narrative structures of contemporary supernatural fiction. Taking storytelling and reception culture into account, it is shown how Lost uses the enactment of religion(s) to perpetuate structural ambiguity concerning the series’ genre. With this ambiguity reverberating on the religious traditions referred to, Lost suggested the history of religions as an extradiegetic analogue of the fantastic.
Faculties and Departments:01 Faculty of Theology > Fachbereich Religionswissenschaft > Doppelprofessur Religionswissenschaft (Mohn)
04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Fakultär assoziierte Institutionen > Doppelprofessur Religionswissenschaft (Mohn)
UniBasel Contributors:Kirsch, Anja
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:University of Toronto Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:10 Feb 2017 13:24
Deposited On:07 Feb 2017 15:15

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