THE FANTASTIC AS A MODE
T HE ‘FANTASTIC’ derives from the Latin,phantasticus, which is from the Greek meaning to makevisible or manifest. In this general sense, all imagin ary activity is fantastic, all literary works are fantasies. Given such and infinite scope, it has proved difficult to develop an adequate definition of fantasy as a literary kind. One critic claims that ‘in no significant senses does fantasy have a history’ (Irwin, p.x). It seems appropriate that such a protean form has so successfully resisted generic classifica tion. ‘The wide range of works which we ca ll. . . fantastic is large, much too large to constitute a single genre. [It includes] whole conventional genres, such as fairy tale, detective story, Fantasy’ (Rabkin, p. 118).