These traits readily borrowed traditional elements of the fantastic. The Romantics invoked the medieval romance as justification for the works they wanted to produce, in distinction from the realistic pressure of the Enlightenment; these were not always fantastic, sometimes being merely unlikely to happen, but the justification was used even from fantasy. One of the first literary results of this fascinations was Gothic novel , a literary genre that began in Britain with The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.
It is the predecessor to both modern fantasy and modern horror fiction and, above all, has led to the common definition of "gothic" as being connected to the dark and horrific. The fantastic, dream-like atmosphere pervaded the genre at this point. Some stories appeared to contain such elements and then explained them away. The genre straddled the border between fantasy and non-fantasy, but many elements from it, particularly the houses of particular import, being ancient, owned by nobles, and often endowed with legends, were incorporated in modern fantasy.
Of particular importance to the development of the genre was that the Gothic writers used novelistic techniques and love, such as Defoe was using, rather than the literary style of the romance, and also began to use the landscape for purposes of expressing the characters' moods. On the other hand, the Gothic still held back the pure fantasy. In The Castle of Otranto , Walpole presented the work as a translation; the fictitious original author is therefore responsible for its fantasical elements, which Walpole distances himself from.
The Romantic interest in medievalism also resulted in a revival of interest in the literary fairy tale. Hoffmann 's tales, such as " The Golden Pot " and " The Nutcracker and the Mouse King " were notable additions to the canon of German fantasy.
In Britain, Sara Coleridge also wrote a fantasy novel, Phantasmion , described as ""the first fairytale novel written in English". The modern fantasy genre first took root during the 18th century with the increased popularity of fictional travelers' tales, influencing and being influenced by other early forms of speculative fiction along the way, finally unfurling in the 19th century from a literary tapestry of fantastic stories and gaining recognition as a distinct genre mainly due to the nigh-ubiquitous recession of fantastic elements from "mainstream" fiction in the late 19th century.
In the early Victorian era, stories continued to be told using fantastic elements, less believed in.
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Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol , using novelistic characterization to make his ghost story plausible;  Scrooge at first doubts the reality of the ghosts, suspecting them his own imagination, an explanation that is never conclusively refuted. The fairy-tale tradition continued in the hands of such authors as William Makepeace Thackeray , but The Rose and the Ring showed many elements of parody. It was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that modern fantasy genre first truly began to take shape.
The history of modern fantasy literature begins with George MacDonald , the Scottish author of such novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes the latter of which is widely considered to be the first fantasy novel ever written for adults. MacDonald also wrote one of the first critical essays about the fantasy genre, "The Fantastic Imagination", in his book A Dish of Orts Tolkien and C. The other major fantasy author of this era was William Morris , a socialist, an admirer of Middle Ages, a reviver of British handcrafts and a poet, who wrote several fantastic romances and novels in the latter part of the century, of which the most famous was The Well at the World's End.
He was deeply inspired by the medieval romances and sagas; his style was deliberately archaic, based on medieval romances. These fantasy worlds were part of a general trend. This era began a general trend toward more self-consistent and substantive fantasy worlds. In Phantastes , for instance, George MacDonald has a mentor-figure explain to the hero that the moral laws are the same in the world he is about to enter as in the world he came from; this lends weight and importance to his actions in this world, however fantastical it is.
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Authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray also developed fantasy, in the telling of horror tales,  a separate branch of fantasy that was to have great influence on H. Lovecraft and other writers of dark fantasy. Despite MacDonald's future influence, and Morris' popularity at the time, it was not until around the start of the 20th century that fantasy fiction began to reach a large audience, with authors such as Lord Dunsany who, following Morris's example, wrote fantasy novels, but also in the short story form. Joshi claims that "Dunsany's work had the effect of segregating fantasy—a mode whereby the author creates his own realm of pure imagination—from supernatural horror.
From the foundations he established came the later work of E. Eddison , Mervyn Peake , and J. According to historian Michael Saler, speculative fiction entered a new stage in the s and sas a consequence of the rise of the secular society , where the imagination in literature was freed from the influence of the church. This allowed writers to combine aesthetic literature with the freedom of the New Romance literature and the techniques used in literary realism. Rider Haggard developed the conventions of the Lost World subgenre, which sometime included fantasy works as in Haggard's own She.
Barrie 's Peter Pan , L. Nesbit and Frank R. Stockton were also published around this time. Lewis noted that in the earlier part of the 20th century, fantasy was more accepted in juvenile literature, and therefore a writer interested in fantasy often wrote in it to find an audience, despite concepts that could form an adult work.
At this time, the terminology for the genre was not settled. Tolkien's The Hobbit , the term "fairy tale" was still being used. An important factor in the development of the fantasy genre was the arrival of magazines devoted to fantasy fiction. The first such publication was the German magazine Der Orchideengarten which ran from Such magazines also played a large role in the rise of science fiction and it was at this time the two genres began to be associated with each other.
Several of the genre's most prominent authors began their careers in these magazines including Clark Ashton Smith , Fritz Leiber , and Ray Bradbury. The early works of many sword and sorcery authors such as Robert E. Howard also began at this time. Howard's works, especially Conan, were to have a noteworthy, even defining, influence on the sword and sorcery subgenre.
Moore was among Howard's first imitators, with "The Black God's Kiss", in which she introduced Jirel of Joiry and the heroine protagonist to sword and sorcery. Outside the pulp magazines, several American writers used the medium of fantasy for humorous and satirical purposes, including James Branch Cabell whose novel Jurgen became the subject of an unsuccessful prosecution for obscenity ,  Thorne Smith , with Topper and Turnabout ,  and Charles G.
Finney , author of The Circus of Dr. Lao Eddison , another influential writer, wrote during this era. He drew inspiration from Northern sagas, as Morris did, but his prose style was modeled more on Tudor and Elizabethan English, and his stories were filled with vigorous characters in glorious adventures. His characters were often of great ability and noble, if not royal, birth. These characters have been admired for his work in making his villains, particularly, more vivid characters than Tolkien's.
In , with the publication of The Sword in the Stone , T. White introduced one of the most notable works of comic fantasy. Sprague de Camp. Literary critics of the era began to take an interest in "fantasy" as a genre of writing, and also to argue that it was a genre worthy of serious consideration. Herbert Read devoted a chapter of his book English Prose Style to discussing "Fantasy" as an aspect of literature, arguing it was unjustly considered suitable only for children: "The Western World does not seem to have conceived the necessity of Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups".
However, it was the advent of high fantasy and, most importantly, the popularity of J.
Tolkien 's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which finally allowed fantasy to truly enter into the mainstream. Tolkien had published The Hobbit in and The Lord of the Rings in the s; while the first was a fairy tale fantasy, the second was an epic fantasy that expanded upon the groundwork of the hobbit.
In demand for more, Ace Books science fiction editor Donald A. Wollheim felt Tolkien's three part novel had enough elements in common with sword and sorcery that it would appeal to the readers of the latter, after which he published an unauthorized paperback edition. On its first-page blurb, it was described as "a book of sword-and-sorcery that anyone can read with delight and pleasure". But the readers of the book would extend way beyond sword and sorcery fans. Blue Skies. Queen of the Road Mira. The Things We Cannot Say. Flame Tree Hill.
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Her hair streaked white by her father's first touch, her mind guided by a mother she will not see again for centuries, Polgara begins life in her Uncle Beldin's tower, and in the prehistorical, magical Tree that stands in the middle of the Vale. There, she first learns the reaches of her powers. There she assumes the bird shapes that will serve her on her adventures.
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And there she starts on the path toward her destiny as Duchess of Erat, shepherdess of the cause of good, adversary of Torak the One-Eyed Dragon God, and guardian of the world's last, best hope: the heir to the Rivan throne. Here is the legendary life story of a woman of wit, passion, and complex emotions, a woman born of two majestic parents who could not have been more unlike one another. Ordained to make peace and make war, to gain love and lose love, Polgara lives out her family's rich prophecy in the ceaseless struggle between the Light and the Dark.
Polgara is the epic culmination of a magnificent saga, and a fitting farewell to a world which, once experienced, will never be forgotten. Young Prince Conrad had never seen such a beautiful maiden.
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