Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from the genre of science fiction by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific themes, though there is a great deal of overlap between the two, both of which are subgenres of speculative fiction.
In popular culture, the genre of fantasy is dominated by its medievalist form, especially since the worldwide success of The Lord of the Rings and related books by J. R. R. Tolkien. Fantasy has also included wizards, sorcerers, witchcraft, etc., in events which avoid horror. In its broadest sense, however, fantasy comprises works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians, from ancient myths and legends to many recent works embraced by a wide audience today.
Fantasy is a vibrant area of academic study in a number of disciplines (English, cultural studies, comparative literature, history, medieval studies). Work in this area ranges widely, from the structuralist theory of Tzvetan Todorov, which emphasizes the fantastic as a liminal space, to work on the connections (political, historical, literary) between medievalism and popular culture.
Famous quotes containing the word fantasy:
“Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he lives his religion as much as he is able, otherwise it is not religion but fantasy or philosophy.”
—George Gurdjieff (c. 18771949)
“The traditional American husband and father had the responsibilitiesand the privilegesof playing the role of primary provider. Sharing that role is not easy. To yield exclusive access to the role is to surrender some of the potential for fulfilling the hero fantasya fantasy that appeals to us all. The loss is far from trivial.”
—Faye J. Crosby (20th century)
“Fantasy is a product of thought, Imagination of sensibility. If the thinking, discursive mind turns to speculation, the result is Fantasy; if, however, the sensitive, intuitive mind turns to speculation, the result is Imagination. Fantasy may be visionary, but it is cold and logical. Imagination is sensuous and instinctive. Both have form, but the form of Fantasy is analogous to Exposition, that of Imagination to Narrative.”
—Sir Herbert Read (18931968)