chapter
Introduction
WithAnderson Graham
Pages 11

The term fantasy can be applied to any material that is felt to be impossible, in contrast to the normal workings of the real world. This is consistent with a well-established meaning of the term phantasia in Antiquity itself, where it can be applied to the forming of concepts in the mind, hence ‘imaginary’ and often far-fetchedly so; there is a tendency to associate fantasy with the wilder reaches of the imagination, but its usage is conveniently flexible. The testimony of Longinus is particularly illuminating in the no-man’s land between imagination and fantasy. For him also, phantasia amounts to a kind of ability to perceive what is unseen—imagination, as we should term it; but in fact, the examples he gives, for the most part, coincide with what should regard as fantasy, tending to push the boundaries of imagination to their limits.