- Fantasy literature
- Fantastic art
- Fantasy anime
- Fantasy art
- Fantasy artists
- Fantasy authors
- Fantasy comics
- Fantasy fiction magazine
- Fantasy films
- Fantasy literature
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- History of fantasy
- Fantasy tropes
- Fantasy races
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- Legendary creatures
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- Fantasy awards
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Fantasy literature is fantasy in written form. Historically speaking, literature has composed the majority of fantasy works. Since the 1950s however, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games, music, painting, and other media.
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 (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). 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. It was after the publication of 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 and a fellow English professor with a similar array of interests, also helped to publicize the fantasy genre.
Preeminent authors in the genre who undertook popular fantasy works after Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings phenomenon of the 1950s and 1960s are listed below. The names listed are presented in chronological order, from the earliest published to the latest, along with their most significant works.
- Michael Moorcock: The Elric of Melnibone series (first novel published 1965).
- Lloyd Alexander: The Chronicles of Prydain (first book published 1964)
- Ursula K. Le Guin : The Earthsea series (first book published 1968)
- Fred Saberhagen: The Empire of the East series (first book published 1968)
- Stephen R. Donaldson : The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (first book published in 1977)
- Terry Brooks : The Shannara series (first book published in 1977)
- Piers Anthony : The Xanth series (published 1977)
- David Eddings : The Belgariad (first book published in 1982)
- Raymond E. Feist : The Riftwar saga (first book published 1982)
- Terry Pratchett : The Discworld series (first book published 1983)
- Guy Gavriel Kay : The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy (first book published 1984)
- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and others : The Dragonlance series (first book published in 1984)
- R. A. Salvatore and others : The Forgotten Realms series (first book published in 1987)
- Tad Williams : Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series (first book published 1988)
- Robert Jordan : The Wheel of Time series (first book published in 1990)
- Terry Goodkind : The Sword of Truth series (first book published 1994)
- Robin Hobb : The Farseer, Liveship Traders and Soldier Son trilogies (first book published 1995)
- Philip Pullman : The His Dark Materials Trilogy (first book published 1995)
- George R. R. Martin : A Song of Ice and Fire series (first book published 1996)
- J.K. Rowling : The Harry Potter series (first book published 1997)
- Brandon Sanderson: The Mistborn series (first book published 2005)
Authors such as John Flanagan, Terry Pratchett, R.A. Salvatore, J.K.Rowling, Jim Butcher, Peter S. Beagle, Terry Brooks, Steven Erikson, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Rick Riordan, Scott Lynch, Ursula K. Le Guin, David Eddings, Tamora Pierce, Charles de Lint, Raymond E. Feist, and partly Laurell K. Hamilton and Angie Sage 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, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2009, George R. R. Martin in 2005, Neil Gaiman in 2005, and Terry Goodkind in 2006, and Patrick Rothfuss in 2011.
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, 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.
Michael Moorcock observed that many writers use archaic language for its sonority and to lend color to a lifeless story. Brian Peters writes that in various forms of fairytale fantasy, even the villain's language might be inappropriate if vulgar.
- ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: November 8, 1998". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/1998/1998-11-08.pdf. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: November 26, 2000". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/2000/2000-11-26.pdf. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: January 26, 2003". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/2003/2003-01-26.pdf. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: October 30, 2005". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/2005/2005-10-30.pdf. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "The New York Times Best Seller list: November 15, 2009". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/2009/2009-11-15.pdf. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "Best-Seller Lists: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. November 27, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/books/bestseller/1127besthardfiction.html. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- ^ "Best-Seller Lists: Hardcover Fiction". The New York Times. NYTimes.com. October 9, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/09/books/bestseller/1009besthardfiction.html. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- ^ "Hawes' archive of New York Times bestsellers — Week of January 23, 2005". http://www.hawes.com/2006/2006-08-06.pdf.
- ^ "' 'The New York Times ' ' Best Seller list: March 20, 2011". Hawes.com. http://www.hawes.com/2011/2011-03-20.pdf. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- ^ Ursula K. Le Guin, "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie", p 74-5 The Language of the Night ISBN 0-425-05205-2
- ^ Ursula K. Le Guin, "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie", p 78-80 The Language of the Night ISBN 0-425-05205-2
- ^ Michael Moorcock, Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy p 35 ISBN 1-932265-07-4
- ^ Alec Austin, "Quality in Epic Fantasy". The generic features of historical fantasy literature, as a mode of inverting the real (including nineteenth-century ghost stories, children's stories, city comedies, classical dreams, stories of highway women, and Edens) are discussed in Writing and Fantasy, ed. Ceri Sullivan and Barbara White (London: Longman, 1999)
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