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Reality vs Fantasy

During the second half of the 20th century fantasy fiction has become one of the most productive and commercially successful of literature genres in English . In one sense this is not surprising . Literature containing elements of the fantastic is as old as literature in English ,and includes such works as Beowulf , with its fire-spewing dragon and man-eating and man-eating ogres , Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , with its enchantresses and shape-shifting giant , or Sir Thomas Malory ‘s Le Morte D ‘Arthur or Shakespeare ‘s Midsummer Night ‘s Dream and The Tempest ,with their respective complements of enchanted swords , elvish knights ,fairies , and wizards (Fantasy Fiction 2007 . The literature of the fantastic at any date can draw on a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of concepts and characters from the age-old , international , and pre-literary genre of the folk tale , or tale of wonder . Literature of the fantastic should , however , be distinguished from fantasy fiction , a genre in some respects decisively modern . Readers and writers in a period dominated by science and by rationalistic world-view face problems in entertaining such concepts as those listed above , now known or at least very generally thought to be impossible or nonexistent . The problems were until recently increased by the low rating given to fantasy and the fantastic by practitioners of the realistic novel . In what one might call the post-Quixotic era , fantasy was marginalized into becoming a form for satire , for diversion , and above all for children . The greatest influence within the fantasy genre , however , has been another maverick , J .R .R . Tolkien . Tolkien ‘s fantasy world , fabricated out of shattered myths which we , as “post-moderns ‘ ought no longer to believe in . The Lord of the Rings is essentially a re-creation , a synthesis of rejected myths and images into a fragile new composition . A skeptic may well ask why a discussion of fantasy must begin with metaphor , emblem , and suggestion . The irritation of the skeptic has point . It is one thing to identify the appeal of fantasy , but to demonstrate its value calls for something more bracing than suggestive emblems . Yet the proper beginning point is in the emblems , the metaphors , the haziness , the elusive circularity with which so many readers of fantasy articulate their responses . Tolkien used his expert in scholarly knowledge of Old English and Old Norse to create the world Germanic folk tale (Tolkien 2007 . In C .S . Lewis ‘ chapter on “The Meanings of Fantasy ‘ in an An Experiment in Criticism , with its repeated emphasis on fantasy as “disinterested castle-building ‘ to see the syndrome of metaphorical elusiveness at work . Even the more substantial writing of Tolkien in his famous essay “On Fairy-Stories ‘ in Tree and Leaf will be a bitter pill for the skeptic since Tolkien ‘s begins by describing the reading of fantasy not as an act of intellection , but as a journey through another country . And if Lewis and Tolkien , whose reputations as fiction writers rest almost exclusively on fantasy , seem to have a vested interest in speaking of their craft in…

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