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Friday, 3 December 2010

Why do Some Revere Ancient Myths, yet Sneer at Modern Fantasy?

First edition of Gulliver's Travels by Jonatha...Image via Wikipedia
Agents and publishers, with a few notable exceptions, frequently reject fantasy as a genre. It is the genre most frequently excluded in the details given by literary agents and publishers. I wonder why this is. Fantasy incorporates a huge variety of novel types. Obviously Lord of the Rings is included in the genre, but so are such classic novels as Animal Farm, Gulliver's Travels, Vanity Fair, Utopia, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and many others. Do publishers and agents simply see the swords and sorcery or dragons of conventional modern fantasy and assume that all deal with the same subjects? There is a long history of admiration by publishers and academics for the works of the Ancient Greeks; and if their works aren't fantasy, then nothing is. But modern fantasy seems to leave them feeling slightly uneasy, for a number of unspecified reasons. It is easy to suspect that some form of literary snobbery is at large here. Perhaps some of those who reject the genre would like to enlighten me and my readers about the reason for this apparent prejudice.

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