29-04-2014, 14:00PrintFantasy (from "imagination") is a genre of the Phantastik whose roots are found in the mythology and the legends. Like the neighbouring genres Science Fiction and horror, fantasy finds her most important stamping in literature and film, moreover, however, also in music and pedagogic art as well as recently in the area of the parlour games, computer games as well as Pen-& Paper role plays and live role plays.
As a modern Subgenre of the Phantastik the fantasy places special emphasis on supernatural, fantastic and magic elements. Often she helps herself of the motives of old myths, national fairy tales or legends. Thus legend shapes appear like dwarfs or magicians, but also specially fictitious beings or anthropomorphe (human-like) animals. Often the action is moved in a fictive world which clearly differs from the earthly reality. The fictional is valid within the imaginary background as real.
Signs and World
As a background of the fantasy story a fictive world which orientates itself in her structures of society, nevertheless, mostly by historical epochs serves for usual. Besides, particularly the European Middle Ages are liked, also Iron Age and Renaissance can serve as a presentation. Technically how, therefore, culturally the fantastic world is almost always on a state which works after today's graduations behind to archaic. Now and then this is extended to a dualism in which a decadent civilisation and a noble, but barbarian culture are confronted.
The political order of a fantasy world mostly resembles the feudalism. On this occasion, it does not concern by chance a personal association state in which the special relations cause the social cohesion between individuals. This differentiates itself from the modern state understanding after which the citizens are immediately actors of the state. The positive achievement of the modern state being, namely relative equality, is seldom taken note in the fantasy literature or is picked out as a central theme. This moves fantasy in her narrative position often in the nearness of the history novel.
The religions of the fantasy world are partial polytheistisch, partially monotheistisch stamped and often competing confessions are confronted. Besides, religion is understood often not only mythically, but also magically (after Jean Piaget): Single people are able to intervene in the physical laws of the world. Either this happens by magic forces (magician) or with divine help (priest). Also usual individuals are integrated into this higher order. The classical fantasy world shows therefore a unity of politics and religion what corresponds to an idealised form of the medieval order.
The cultures of a fantasy world are leant mostly against earthly people and antique, medieval and modern elements are brightly mixed. It is remarkable that the people show mostly idealised communities which gather behind prominent personalities like kings, generals or family leaders. Conflicts between social groups are mostly neglected, strongly simplified or delivered between individuals. This reminds every now and then of the historistische historiography and her interpretation patterns.
Races and people
As a rule the fantasy world is inhabited by people. However, in addition, the other people from whom many appear as work-covering can exist. Particularly are liked from J. R. R. Fantasy people the dwarfs, Elben and Orks who appear under the term "races" defined Tolkien. They orientate themselves by models from fairies legends, elves legends, dragon legends and goblin's legends, however, show stereotyped trains and peculiarities on which were defined only by the fantasy: Dwarfs are small-grown people, live underground, carry a full beard, are a masterly ax and quarrel hammer fighter, smiths and boozers. Elben are immortal or at least long-lasting beings, sometimes as nature-loving forest people, sometimes as a cultural-creative high-level civilisation the people morally and culturally consider are. Orks are ugly, aggressive beings which are over on war and looting. Goblins are cowardly the small, crafty goblins which, but are numerous. Besides undead appear like animated skeletons, zombies and vampires, animal people like centaurs, Minotauren, satyrs, saurians and insects beings and Halblinge in many novels.
In the fantasy jargon the term "Race" is used much more impartially than this is, otherwise, the case. This is due to the fact on the one hand that it concerns a direct transference from English. On the other hand a relationship relation basing on race exists according to biological definition often between the single people, because they can also produce with each other fertile descendants. Thus appear now and then Halbelben as offsprings of person and Elb.
The representation of the races and people often shows racist and biologistic trends. Thus the Orks get mostly angry as, deviously and degenerated shown and to them her aggressiveness and murder desire is innate. Though other races are presented less negatively, but by no means more differentiated. Newer works of the fantasy have weakened this trend at least partially or draw the "races" under reverse portents.
Motives and narrative structures
The fantasy often falls back on experienced motives of the adventure fiction: Sword fights and monster meetings, trips to exotic places, epochal battles, court intrigues and the fight against a mighty opponent who can be added unambiguously to the bad person. As a classical narrative structure serves the Quest and, in the meantime, also influence is recognizable by films, computer games and role plays. The action curve is put on mostly epically and incorporates the whole world in the events. Influence of the novel of education, novel of education or boarding school novel is often perceptible if the central figure must go through first an education as a magician, warrior or aristocrat, before the real action starts.
Like every genre the fantasy has also developed her own clichés and stereotypes. In particular the play industry has the genre by plays like Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Magic: The Gathering or, in particular in the German language area, The black eye strongly formalizes. Action elements are used over and over again to make easier the entrance to readers and to deliver to them this what has proved itself.
The fight against supernatural beings and monsters – an old literary topos
Fantasy scoops her motives and narrative structures from the ancient literature form of the legends and epics in which former cultures held on the stories of her gods, demigods and hero, possibly Homer's Iliad, the Nibelungenlied or the legend circle around king Artus. Modern fantasy often takes up these legends directly, it retells or adapts her action.
In the second half of the 18th century the Central European enthusiasm began for pretemporal epic and was reflected possibly in the songs of the fictive bard Ossian.
Development of the Phantastik in the 19th century
The early romanticism was stamped by a philosophically motivated enthusiasm for extrasensory worlds: National fairy tale collections, art fairy tales and novels of education with the fantastic components originated, often in medieval Settings which are also exceedingly typical for the High fantasy. Authors like Novalis (Heinrich von Ofterdingen), Ludwig Tieck (elves) and Friedrich de la Motte-Fouqué (undine) anticipated structurally and concerning the contents essential elements of the fantasy literature. Particularly the mixture of the literary types - a central demand of the romantic universal poetry is to be stressed. Thus is possibly Novalis' novel fragment Heinrich von Ofterdingen with poems and fairy tales of different kind puts through, what later in the work from J. R. R. Tolkien an as central role should take.
In the late romanticism authors began like E. T. A. Hoffmann or Edgar Allan Poe strengthens to integrate supernatural elements into her novels and stories. This new literature direction of the Phantastik turned out at the originating book market sales-laden and above all shower fiction and adventure novels was successful like the works Sir Walter Scotts. The writer and composer Richard Wagner who influenced the fantasy with his monumental stage dramas being based on northern mythology (the ring of the Nibelungen) decisively is important also.
Also the beginnings of the Science Fiction which are found till this day in a narrow thematic one, even if content nearness does not stand to the fantasy, in this time. Thus the today's fantasy would be inconceivable without preliminary work of Jules Verne, Erckmann-Chatrian, Herbert George Wells, lord Dunsany, Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Robert Louis Stevenson (The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), George MacDonald (day boy and night girl), Mark Twain (a Yankee at the court of the king Artus) and Oscar to game (The portrait of Dorian Gray).
Origin in the 20th century
As own literature genre the fantasy originated in the 20th century. As her founder becomes often J. R. R. Tolkien (man of the rings) called who released a regular boom with his works above all in the late 1960s years and is stated by many authors as a model. As other "ancestors" of the fantasy are valid E. R. Eddison (Which worm Ouroboros), Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the grey Mausling), C. See Lewis (The chronicles of Narnia) and the American pulp author Robert E. Howard whose stories about Conan the barbarians are as argumentative as famous.
After the first Tolkien's boom of the 1960s numerous other authors stamped the genre, often in support of Tolkien, possibly Marion Zimmer Bradley and Stephen R. Donaldson in the 1970s, Terry Brooks and Raymond Feist in the 1980s. The origin of the fantasy role play in the 1970s was decisively influenced by the fantasy literature by which vice versa also the interest increased in the written works. In the 1980s and 1990s developed in parallel with the classical High fantasy which was delated by authors like Tad William, Robert Jordan and Robin Hobb, new Subgenres like the Urbane fantasy or the humorous fantasy.
Development in the 21st century
At the beginning of the new century the fantasy by the media bustle around Harry Potter years 1-7 as well as the Herr-der-Ringe-Verfilmungen experiences a new impetus which is heated up by other and other film adaptations. More fantasy is published, in the meantime and read. In the High fantasy ruling at the moment a development into a more complex treatment of the fantasy motives stands out, possibly by renunciation of genre conventions; as a pioneer of this modern High fantasy are valid George R. R. Martin, Steven Erikson and J. V. Jones.
Discourses of the fantasy
Overlappings with other genres
In the fantasy many motives from other Subgenres of the Phantastik, possibly of the science fiction and horror literature are found. Many authors and publishing companies are active at the same time in several genres, so that it comes to a personnel like content overlapping and a clear demarcation is difficult. Hybrid forms like star War which fortifies a science fiction scenery with fantasy motives or the Cthulhu myth, in which science fiction, horror and fantasy flow together are no rarity.
Fantasy is often looked as a pure light reading and trivial literature, because fantasy literature appeared in her time of origin mostly in pulp magazines and was directed at a suitable audience. After the cultural evaluation categories "High" and "Pop culture" fantasy is assigned for usual to the pop culture. Nevertheless, becoming blurred the borders between amusing and serious literature also does not stop at the fantasy. Fantasy motives find themselves in contemporary novels and films and also the literature takes care increasingly of the fantasy.
Marketing and standard character
In spite of the increasing acceptance the fantasy is marketed as a rule furthermore as a genre literature. Cover creation, advertisement and publication form (paperback) are directed after the putative or actual taste of the fantasy readers whose interest should be maintained by the publication of series. Besides, it comes necessarily to a repetition of elements typical for genre which complicates an advancement of the genre. Thus only relatively insignificant works by the use of classical subjects can gain concerning the contents a commercial success over and over again, while it more demanding or unusual novels have clearly heavy to assert themselves.
Of the fantasy a slope is subordinated to the escapism because it mostly shows a medieval stamped, simplifying structured society and fades out therefore the social, political or cultural realities and problems of our time or edges out. This reproach applies to many works, however, hides that already the early fantasy literature has used her fictive background to discuss philosophical questions or to indicate social problems, possibly the king's Artus series of books of T. H. White. Also contemporary fantasy takes up over and over again topical questions (war, nationalism, religious extremism).
J.R.R. Tolkien calls in his article On Fairy stories of 1937 the escapism integral component of the fantasy. Then the functions of a fantasy history also always consist in waking up first the imagination ("fantasy"), secondly to the readers restoration allowing ("Recovery"), thirdly escape possibilities ("Escape") and fourthly consolation ("Consolation") granting. While the imagination is as it were the ticket in the fantastic worlds, Tolkien understands the restoration as „regaining of a clear look“ and the taking of a new perspective. With the concept of the escape Tolkien makes a distinction between two variations which he characterises as the escape of the deserter and the escape of the prisoner. Ersterer is simply a coward who wants to run away. However, one cannot take amiss of prisoners the wills to the escape. Their escape is more opposition than bare running away. Therefore Tolkien understands the escape possibility which offers the genre to fantasy, as a possibility for the fulfilment of longings and Befriedigungen which cannot offer the real world. For him one of the important functions of fantasy is the return to in the myth and in the mythical thinking anchored state of the enchantment.
Racism, sexism and conservatism
Another reproach to the fantasy is the reactionary felt, simplifying world view of many novels which contains the authority's thought compared with feudal structures, a conservative arrangement of the gender roles and the tone of the differences between people or "races". Although this all-inclusive criticism can be disproved by countless counterexamples, one cannot deny a certain ambivalence of the fantasy in these tension fields what is due above all to the pulp past of the genre. Modern and partly old fantasy treats these questions mostly very complicated without fading out them completely.
The fantasy literature can be divided in the following not strictly sub-groups separateable of each other:
High fantasy: The classical fantasy which is settled in a fictive imagination world, mostly medieval stamped and with stress of the magic; often in the style of Tolkien held and accordingly epically. Works of the High fantasy often apply about several volumes in which a hero – or a group of heroes – on an adventurous trip (Quest) proceeds to solve a job or to come along on the search for a magic object. Known works: Man of the rings from J. R. R. Tolkien, The secret of the big swords of Tad William, The play of the gods of Steven Erikson, The song of ice and fire of George R. R. Martin, earth lake of Ursula K. Le Guin, The wheel of the time of Robert Jordan, The elves of Bernhard Hennen, The Belgariad saga of David Eddings, Eragon of Christopher Paolini and The dwarfs of Markus Heitz.
Low fantasy or Sword and Sorcery (Sword & magic) or heroic fantasy: Adventure fiction and pulp literature which is settled in a fictive imagination world. In the centre of the action stands mostly a lonesome, intrepid hero who positions himself to natural and supernatural problems. Known works: Conan von Robert E. Howard, the Lankhmar cycle of Fritz Leiber.
Contemporary and Urbane fantasy: Clear reality relation, but broken by fantastic elements. On this occasion, it concerns novels and stories in which the real world with fantastic, magic worlds melts. Often these are main entrances, by the protagonists reach in another world and there experience adventure, or a shape from the imagination world steps by the main entrance to escort the protagonist in his world. Known works: American Gods of Neil Gaiman, Harry Potter of Joanne K. Rowling, the Bartimäus series of books of Jonathan Stroud, The infinite history of Michael end, The chronicles of Narnia of C. See Lewis, Percy Jackson of Rick Riordan
Time ice stories: with the help of objects or by a special gift in the past or future travel. Known works: Fire and stone of Diana Gabaldon, The woman of the time traveller of Audrey Niffenegger, in the abyss of the time of Andreas Schreiner
Art fairy tales, fairy tale fiction: Fantastic and poetic fantasy, often also modernised fairy tales. Known works: The infinite history of Michael end, Bluebeard's room of Angela Carter.
Animal fantasy: Fantasy in the animal kingdom, animals as heroic figures. Known works: The wolves of the time of William Horwood, Watership Down of Richard Adam, clever weasels of Garry D. Kilworth, Warrior Cats of Erin Hunter
Science fantasy: Mixture of fantasy and science fiction elements; a variation of this literary direction is of the Steampunk. Known works: Perdido Street station of China Miéville, cave world saga of Harald Evers, Darkover cycle of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Drachenreiter-von-Pern-Serie of Anne McCaffrey, Otherland of Tad William, B sharp Dark of material of Philip Pullman.
Dark fantasy: In direction to the horror the devoted direction in which sombre and uncanny mixes with the dream-like world of the fantasy. Often passion and eroticism play a big role. Known works: The dark tower of Stephen King, Thomas Covenant of the skeptics of Stephen R. Donaldson, The saga of Kane von Karl Edward Wagner, The black jewels of Anne Bishop, the Hexer cycle of Andrzej Sapkowski.
All Age fantasy: Fantastic novels and stories, the readers on the other side from age limits respond. Written originally rather for a young audience, this literature inspires, in the meantime, more and more adult readers, because the authors tie together exciting adventures with multi-layered entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere. Known works: Harry Potter of Joanne K. Rowling, B sharp Dark of material of Philip Pullman, Artemis Fowl von Eoin Colfer.
Humorous fantasy: Parodistic or ironic contact with fantasy motives or classical legends and myths. Known works: Zamonien cycle of Walter Moers, disc world cycle of Terry Pratchett, demon's row of Robert Asprin, The nomad's God of Gerd Scherm, Krishna cycle of Lyons Sprague de camp.
Pseudo documentation: Fictive non-fiction books with fantastic contents. Known works: Half knight's animal lives and plant lives of Kurt Halbritter, fantastic animal beings and where they are to be found by Newt Scamander alias Joanne K. Rowling, black fog of Michael Crichton.
Pseudo-historical fantasy: New interpretation of an epoch by Einflechtung of fantastic elements. The novels very well investigated in the ideal case play not in foreign fictive imagination worlds, but on our earth in a historical time (often to the Middle Ages or a prehistoric time) in which the faith in magic and magic was widespread or had even a high value. The authors often fall back on traditional legends and legends or on historical events or people. Known works: At the court of the solar king of Annemarie Desplat-Duc, Dr. Faustus trilogy of Kai Meyer, The fire riders of his Majesty von Naomi Novik, Avalon row of Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Social fantasy: The fantasy literature which lays her main focus on social-critical and society-critical subjects as well as possible political utopias like the anarchism. Known works: Earth lake row of Ursula K. Le Guin.
Fantasy beyond the literature
Also the cinema and the television has already turned of the more often to the genre, even if relatively rare as that of the Science Fiction. Apart from the early fairy tale films, some fantasy filming of Walt Disney as for example The secret of the execrated cave (1959) and the first sign trick version of the cult novel of the same name man of the rings (the USA, in 1978) real fantasy material was taken up only from the 1980s. At that time film classics originated like ex-approx. Li borer (the USA / GB, in 1981), fight of the titans (GB, in 1981), The Dragonkiller (the USA, in 1981), The dark crystal (the USA / GB, in 1982), legend (GB, in 1985) and The trip in the labyrinth (GB / USA, in 1986). It is striking that none of the successful fantasy fiction was filmed; man of the rings was valid after the Bakshi film fruitless in the film cash as a too difficult material, other novels apparently than too bad presentation. The only exception remained a filming of the novel The infinite history (the D/USA, in 1984) from Michael end. With the film Willow (the USA, in 1988) tried producer George Lucas his SF success with star War (the USA to repeat in 1977) also in the fantasy area what remained, however, kept to him.
Also in the 1990s real fantasy films remained rare; Dragonheart (the USA, in 1996) achieved bigger success. Instead, the television discovered the genre for itself and created several fantasy series, possibly Robin Hood (GB, in 1984-1986), Hercules (the USA / NZ, in 1995-1999), Xena (the USA / NZ, in 1995-2001) and Charmed – enchanting witches (the USA, in 1998-2006).
Finally, in the 2000s director Peter Jackson ventured on the filming (the NZ/USA, in 2001) from man of the rings and harvested with the film trilogy a great success in the film cashes. Together with the also successful Harry Potter's filmings he created with it a base for other filming plans. Thus Cornelia Funk's ink heart and the Narnia row of C also have. See Lewis the way on the canvas found.
Board games and role plays
Fantasy served early as a background for numerous board games, play books and above all role plays (Pen-& Paper role plays and live role plays). Just in the course of the role play wave – released from the market leader Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) in the 1980s and 1990s – interaction with the fantasy literature arose; some authors found about the role play to the fantasy literature and vice versa. Besides, some role plays were processed literarily, so that possibly the dragon's lance fiction by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman or the Forgotten Realms row from R. A. Salvatore originated. The fantasy-play books which are looked as a precursor of the Textadventures attained particular importance; among the rest, were known lonesome Wolf von Joe Dever and the Fighting fantasy row by Steve Jackson.
In the late 1990s years the fantasy topic penetrated into other play areas. Above all the collective card game Magic: The Gathering celebrated success, drew off some players from the classical role play and opened for at the same time other people who had up to now no access to the fantasy, this genre. After the new fantasy wave in the course of the Tolkien's filming in the 2000s live role plays and classical Pen-& Paper role play became clubbable, indeed, the sales of the role play publishing companies are falling for many years.
In the area of the computer game fantasy motives were always used as generally all fantastic genres have found entrance in the computer game culture. Fantasy materials were taken up over and over again by the early Textadventure as for example Guild of Thieves of the company Magnetic Scrolls up to early role play conversions like Ultima of the company Origin. With the Quest typical for computer game there originated an archetypal narrative structure which found the way back later again in the fantasy literature.
In the 1980s several famous fantasy computer games, possibly The originated Laying of Zelda, Final fantasy, Phantasy star, Dungeon master, already mentioned Ultima or The Bard's to the valley which are partially continued till this day. In the 1990s reached above all the conversions of the D&D role plays (possibly champions of Krynn or Eye of the Beholder), the fantasy parody Simon the Sorcerer, the role plays of country of truck, heir of the earth and the northern country trilogy as well as the strategy play Dungeon Keeper bigger fame. In the 2000s more and more detailed worlds allowed more and more polished graphics and higher arithmetic achievement of the computers, so that today's computer games reach an unbelievable extent. Here as landmarks the plays Diablo and Dungeon are valid victories, the strategy play Warcraft and the role plays World of Warcraft, Baldur's for gate, Neverwinter Nights, Gothic, The Elder Scrolls, Sacred, Dark Age of Camelot and Concocting. The filmings of man of the rings and the Harry Potter's row also led to conversions in the computer game area, like generally a narrower and narrower dovetailing by literature, cinema and computer game is to be observed. Thus the fantasy play Dungeon became victories of director Uwe Boll in 2007 cinematically as swords of the king – Dungeon victories moved.
With Filk there exists own music direction and music culture whose songs tell stories from and about fantasy and science fiction literature and Sc media. Besides fantasy finds itself in the progressive rock and particularly in the Heavy Metal. Although the concept Fantasy Metal exists, this is seldom used, because subjects from the fantasy can be found in virtually all Metal styles, particularly in the power and in the Epic Metal. Very much are liked with Metal albums also record cover with fantasy motives. These are used often even with albums and tape which do not deal, otherwise, with fantasy subjects. As a tape with a partly strong folk impact are to be called above all Summoning, Ensiferum, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire and Manowar. Also Symphonic Metal of tape like Nightwish or Within Temptation as well as Xandria or the singer Tarja use fantasy elements in her songs
The modern fantasy painting has in the western society her precursors in the antique and medieval Bestiarien and in the work of Hieronymus Bosch (in 1460-1516). Many of him shown picture subjects - like varied human representations in connection with fauna and flora, animated objects and playful stylings - returned thematically in the fantasy art of the late 20th century. There is monster and impossible structures, weird sceneries as well as a feeling caused by the viewer of the unreal which often falls back on style elements of the surrealism and the magic realism.
The painter Johann Heinrich and his successor William Blake turned in the 18th century in revolutionary manner to fantastic, mythological and absurd subjects, and are inspiring till this day for fantasy and Gothic painting. The first big blossom experienced this kind of the painting in the Victorian epoch, as a big number of fictive stories, often in the form of the chivalrous romance popular since the romanticism, a revival of the medieval novel, infers with more advanced painting technologies and printings to a wave of illustrated books for the population of English-speaking countries led.
Important fantasy painters are Luis Royo, Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Roger Dean, Patrick Woodroffe, Alan Lee, John Howe, Ted Nasmith, Chris Foss as well as the brothers Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.