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The origins of the fantasy genre

(9 posts)
  • Started 4 months ago by C.C. Finlay
  • Latest reply from David the Evil Overlord

  1. C.C. Finlay
    Charles Coleman Finlay

    An interesting blog post on the origins of the fantasy genre. I couldn't help noticing this highlight:

    "The word fantasy does not appear in the English language used as a word for “a genre of literary compositions,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, until 1949. And its first usage as such appeared in a title: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction."

    https://www.janefriedman.com/a-brief-history-of-the-fantasy-genre/

    Posted 4 months ago #
  2. Don Wollheim edited The Avon Fantasy Reader series beginning in 1947. I'd say the title itself fulfills and defines the requirement of "a genre of literary compositions."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avon_Fantasy_Reader

    Posted 4 months ago #
  3. C.C. Finlay
    Charles Coleman Finlay

    I'm not surprised that there are earlier examples. I suspect the OED will be updated as their etymologists collect older samples.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  4. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Not to nitpick, but the title of that 1949 magazine was "The Magazine of Fantasy"; it wasn't "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" until the second issue, dated Winter/Spring 1950.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  5. Chris DeVito
    Member

    How about "Unknown Fantasy Fiction"? That was the full title of Unknown from Feb. 1940 to Aug. 1941. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?61820

    Posted 4 months ago #
  6. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Then there's the rather confusingly titled British publication from 1946, "Fantasy: The Magazine of Science Fiction", which should muddy the etymological waters.

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?311104

    And of course Fantasy Book from 1947:

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?256571

    Just sayin'.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  7. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    There's also a 1938 magazine entitled FANTASY:

    http://philsp.com/data/data172.html#FANTASY1938

    And UNKNOWN used to print "Fantasy Fiction" on the front cover in the early '40s, as they did here:

    http://philsp.com/data/images/u/unknown_194108.jpg

    Posted 4 months ago #
  8. dolphintornsea
    Member

    In an ISFDB search I found an anthology titled TALES OF FANTASY, ed. Tudor Jenks (Boston, Hall & Locke, 1902).

    Also, one of the stories in the book is called "A Christmas Fantasy, with a Moral", by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1891).

    Posted 4 months ago #
  9. David the Evil Overlord
    Member

    Before the 20th Century, what we now know as the Fantasy genre was known as History.

    Posted 3 months ago #

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