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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.
  • A long time ago, in a conference room far, far away... it was ordained that sword-and-sorcery movies would be the Next Big Thing. Just imagine crossing the fantasy worlds of JRR Tolkien and George Lucas! Mythic reverberations! Megabucks! Didn't work.
  • "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."
  • Thus, modern pleasure seeking according to Campbell is no longer related to the senses but to activities like daydreaming or fantasizing. The purpose of goods in this context is to act as props. They are the building blocs around which consumers create their pleasurable visions.
  • An additional factor is that people feel a strong desire to purchase the products employed in the construction of their dreams since it is within the nature of this form of mentalist hedonism to experience a great deal of pleasure from imagining the visions coming true. The motivating force behind consumption thus is the incorrigible hope that reality could possibly match the dream. As however fantasies have the inherent quality of being perfect, the consequence of each purchase necessarily must be disillusionment. The only way to re-experience this illusory pleasure again is to take the dream forward and to attach it to a new product. This is possible because the actual intent is not to consume the product per se but its sign value. As signs are free to float between objects, they can be used for creating an indefinite number of associative links and hence it is possible to use a variety of different objects as tangible cues in the same hedonistic fantasy (Baudrillard, 1968/1988).
  • Well, I really want to encourage a kind of fantasy, a kind of magic. I love the term magic realism, whoever invented it — I do actually like it because it says certain things. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered, hammered to think this is what the world is. Television's saying, everything's saying "That's the world." And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things.
  • For me, a one-night stand meant the fantasy was never destroyed. So exciting! Mini-fantasies I would live out, dominating them. They hated it! They genuinely hated it. They would get angry . . . but excited. Really excited. I didn’t love anyone I was with. Never.
  • My fantasy since I was a small child was to dominate a dominating man. That turns me on more than anything, a man who does not want to be dominated—like Sean Connery, a really macho man. The kind of man who has no desire for submission. It’s truly perverse. It’s the power play: who has it, how long you have it for, and what you do with it.
  • The Onion: How did your interest in fantasy first develop?
Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Actually, it comes very naturally for me, because all day my mind drifts off into fantasies and little stupid jokes. For example, when Amelie looks out at the city and wonders how many people are screwing at that moment. I have those same kind of ridiculous questions all the time. [Holds up glass of water, points at the skyline.] Like now, how many people in this city are bringing a glass of water to their mouths? It's always been pretty easy for me to exercise my imagination. The other part of the brain, the one that does mathematics, is a nightmare for me. It doesn't work at all. When I was a kid, I used to escape from my family with my imagination, and I kept this spirit into my adult life. This doesn't always happen. All children have imagination, but for some it doesn't carry over.
  • The Onion: How did you develop your particular visual style?
Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Well, it came to me naturally, too. In literature, we think about and accept the fantastical style all the time, but in film, that's not always the case, especially in France. Sometimes they hate the style. They prefer ugly things, realistic movies. I love to play with everything: the sound, the costumes, the camera.
  • 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)
  • Maeda Toshio suggests that aside the theme of human selfishness, the hard-core rape and tentacle porn with which this manga and animation have become synonymous, are "Fantasy service [extras] for the male readers, men are hen-pecked and their wife's are increasingly equal to women's so they like the rape scenes as they restore their sense of power."
  • Harmless erotic fantasies are terrific, it’s the lousy ones you have to look out for—the harmful, destructive, morbid erotic fixations—real sadism, killing, blood-letting, torturing where the pleasure is in the victim’s actual pain, etc. Those are 100 per cent bad and I won’t have any part of them.
  • It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.
  • Fantasy literature, in its broadest definition 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).
  • Fantasy is a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent.
Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.
I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories, (originally given as an Andrew Lang Lecture at the University of St. Andrews on 8 March 1939, and published in Essays presented to Charles Williams in 1947 (1939).
  • The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
  • The "hard" science-fiction writers are the ones who try to write specific stories about all that technology may do for us. More and more, these writers felt an opaque wall across the future. Once, they could put such fantasies millions of years in the future. Now they saw that their most diligent extrapolations resulted in the unknowable … soon.
    • Vernor Vinge, "The Coming Technological Singularity" (1993).
  • 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).
  • 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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