Imperial Fantasies: Lofting and Milne
Imperialism exists as subtext not only in domestic fiction of the Edwardian era, but in fantasy fiction as well, where again its appearance seems unlikely. Children’s fantasy had steadily grown in popularity throughout the Victorian era, particularly the fairy tale, which influenced fantasists like Ruskin (The King of the Golden River, 1851), Thackery (The Rose and the Ring, 1855), McDonald (At The Back of the North Wind, 1871), and Wilde (The Happy Prince and Other Tales, 1888). This was also the era of Andrew Lang’s colored Fairy Books. Fantasy not so heavily influenced by the fairy tale also grew in popularity, spurred on particularly by Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). By the late nineteenth century, animal fantasies were becoming a genre in themselves. Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877) combines the moral tale with that of an anthropomorphized horse, the reader being urged not to be cruel to animals. Kipling’s Just So Stories (1902) and The Jungle Books are examples of animal fantasies of the period, and of course there are the works of Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame, and many others. Even R.M.Ballantyne contributes to the genre with The Dog Crusoe (1861).