Friday 10 March 2017

The real, the true and wishful thinking

For those who dislike Fantasy in the Tolkien tradition, the whole thing is an exercise in wishful thinking: escapism, cowardice, snobbery, nostalgia... Fantasy is equated with the unreal, and its methods contrasted with truth.

For those who revere Fantasy - at its best the genre is seen to be precisely about reality.

If truth-telling is equated with describing what is real; then Fantasy is perceived by those who love it as telling the truth about reality; by contrast with mainstream fiction which has been, for a century, fundamentally un-truthful - because depicting a false and unreal world.

The 'mainstream' world - in so-called real-life as well as in fiction - is actually both false and unreal; because it is godless, meaningless and purposeless; whereas all the best fantasy is the opposite (whether implicitly, or explicitly). 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This would be interesting to explore in more detail...

For example (going back to things written a bit more than a century ago), when I was in school, astonishing elements in Thomas Hardy's fiction got me noticing how similar things happened in real life and got me attending to Providence (though I would not yet have used that word) - not, I feel confident, Hardy's intention, but reading things Hardy in fact included 'aright' (I'd say).

Since even all sorts of supposed 'realistic' fiction ultimately only have Reality to draw on (a striking point in "On Fairy-Stories"), how effectively can the truncating and distorting selections and omissions work against someone 'reading them aright' nonetheless?

David Llewellyn Dodds