chapter  2
48 Pages

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).