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The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy. ~ Lionel Trilling

Fantasy refers to constructs of the imagination; in storytelling Fantasy generally refers to a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (which are subgenres of speculative fiction).


  • Your true adult, with fully-developed mind can enjoy fantasy whole-heartedly if it's written in adult words and thought-forms, because, being absolutely confident of his own mental capacity, he doesn't have any sense of embarrassment at being caught reading "childish stuff"....And every human being likes fantasy fundamentally. All we need is fantasy expressed in truly adult forms. Every author who honestly and lovingly does that makes a name on it. Lord Dunsany, Washington Irving, Stephen Vincent Benét.
  • Do not confuse fantasy with imagination: the former consumes itself in daydreaming, the latter stimulates creativity in the arts and in the sciences.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani (2014), p. 29.
  • "There, Master Niketas," Baudolino said, "when I was not prey to the temptations of this world, I devoted my nights to imagining other worlds. ... There is nothing better than imagining other worlds," he said, "to forget the painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn't yet realized that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one."
  • It [fantasy literature] is accused of giving children a false impression of the world they live in. But I think no literature that children could read gives them less of a false impression. I think what profess to be realistic stories for children are far more likely to deceive them.
    • C. S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1952)
  • The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
  • It is easy to imagine fantasy as physical and myth as real. We do it almost every moment. We do this as we dream, as we think, and as we cope with the world about us. But these worlds of fantasy that we form into the solid things around us are the source of our discontent. They inspire our search to find ourselves.
    • Evan Harris Walker, in The Physics of Consciousness : The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life (2000).
  • Fantasy literature, in its broadest defintion from "Cinderella" to "Beowulf" to Stephen Donaldson, is literature which makes deliberate use of something known to be impossible.
    • Tom Shippey, in "Introduction" to The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories (1994).
  • Our writers, I believe, discern a resemblance between the world and their books. Through fantasy, they are saying something about life which could not be said within the naturalistic frame of reference.
    • Edward Wagenknecht, ""The Little Prince Rides the White Deer: Fantasy and Symbolism in Recent Literature", College English , May 1946.

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