Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fantasy: the mother of fiction

Once fantasy was not a genre, but all the genres.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Odyssey, Beowulf, the Greek Tragedies, Virgil's Divine Comedy, the legends of King Arthur, Don Quixote, and almost every other piece of early literature we possess are fantasies. (Don Quixote is more of a meta-parody of fantasy, but it's still in the genre.) They deal with gods and heroes, dragons and monsters, the mythic past and creation of the present.

The other genres all came from fantasy, or developed later. (Poetry, of course, is a different matter all together.)


  1. Do you think they all function as myths function: to explain the natural world?

    1. I think our visions of the "mythic past" were the first way we could understand and process ideas like "where we came from" and "what makes us, us," and pass on ideas like, "A hero or good citizen does X." "Why does it rain?" is a similar question, dealing with the world and how it came to be.