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Fantasy literature

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Author Topic: Fantasy literature  (Read 135 times)
Michelle Jahn
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« on: September 20, 2010, 01:30:58 pm »

Stories involving magic, paranormal magic and terrible monsters have existed in spoken forms before the advent of printed literature. Homer's Odyssey satisfies the definition of the fantasy genre with its magic, gods, heroes, adventures and monsters. Fantasy literature, as a distinct type, emerged in Victorian times, with the works of writers such as William Morris and George MacDonald.

J. R. R. Tolkien played a large role in the popularization of the fantasy genre with his highly successful publications The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was largely influenced by an ancient body of Anglo-Saxon myths, particularly Beowulf, as well as modern works such as The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison, and it was after his work that the genre began to receive the moniker "fantasy" (often applied retroactively to the works of Eddison, Carroll, Howard, et al.). Tolkien's close friend C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, also an English professor interested in similar themes, was associated with popularizing the fantasy genre as well.

[edit] Modern
Authors such as Terry Pratchett, J.K.Rowling, Jim Butcher, Terry Brooks, Steven Erikson, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Eddings and Raymond E. Feist are maintaining the genre's popularity.

Though it is not uncommon for fantasy novels to be ranked on The New York Times Best Seller list, to date the only fantasy novelists whose works have debuted at number one on the list are Robert Jordan in 1998,[1] 2000,[2] 2003,[3] 2005,[4] and 2009,[5] George R. R. Martin in 2005,[6] and Neil Gaiman in 2005.[7]

[edit] Style
Fantasy has been distinguished from other forms of literature by its style.

Ursula K. Le Guin, in her essay "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie", presented the idea that language is the most crucial element of high fantasy, because it creates a sense of place. She analyzed the misuse of a formal, "olden-day" style, saying that it was a dangerous trap for fantasy writers because it was ridiculous when done wrong. She warns writers away from trying to base their style on that of masters such as Lord Dunsany and E. R. Eddison,[8] emphasizing that language that is too bland or simplistic creates the impression that the fantasy setting is simply a modern world in disguise, and presents examples of clear, effective fantasy writing in brief excerpts from Tolkien and Evangeline Walton.[9]

Michael Moorcock observed that many writers use archaic language for its sonority and to lend color to a lifeless story.[10] Brian Peters writes that in various forms of fairytale fantasy, even the villain's language might be inappropriate if vulgar.[11]

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