Introduction

Anne Holden Rønning

Abstract


This issue of Coolabah presents some articles on fantasy and the fantastic. Historically, as critics such as Todorov, Rosemary Jackson, Kathryn Hume, W.P. Irwin and Colin Manlove have pointed out, tales of fantasy date back to Æsop’s fables and Homer. In Britain, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur was an early key text with its legends of King Arthur and the Round Table. Ghosts, witches, and magic are integral elements in the plot of several plays by Shakespeare — beings of the unreal world. The imaginary voyage and exploits in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) belong to the world of the fantastic, and yet it is a text with acknowledged political overtones, fantasy often being a guise for political and social critique, as we find later in George MacDonald’s writing. Modern day fantasy plays on these traditional themes, but also provides a more contemporary take on issues, especially when it comes to the media. The diversity of the genre is vast, and explored in this issue.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/co2016181-2

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