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The Encyclopedia of Fantasy

4.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  248 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
This huge volume is the first comprehensive encyclopedia of the fantasy field, offering an exciting new analysis of this highly diverse and hugely popular sphere of literature, from precursors such as Shakespeare and Dante, through Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald and L. Frank Baum to J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and their modern successors, like Ursula K. Le Guin, Peter S. B ...more
Hardcover, 1049 pages
Published May 15th 1997 by St Martin's Press (first published April 1st 1997)
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So, what magic did this book work on me to earn its five amazing stars? What sense of wonder did it stir?

Mostly, it showed me how different fantasy is from all the other genres--including science fiction. Or, sometimes, it gave words to my already itching intuitions. Such as this one:

"Subversive literary form", "the urge to change the reader", "to show readers how to perceive" are, each and everyone, stepping stones, springs from which I launch myself in m
David Hebblethwaite
I was working on an A Level English coursework project about fantasy literature when I came across a cheap copy of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy at a book sale on holiday. The book had been published only a year or so before; a full-price copy would have been well out of my budget, but I could afford to take a chance on the sale copy — and it turned out to be one of the best purchases I ever made.

It’s difficult to put into words just what it felt like to read The Encyclopedia of Fantasy and be sw
Jan 07, 2008 Muzzlehatch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious aficionados of the fantasy genres
Shelves: reference
If there is a better reference work for the fantasy genre, I don't know what it is. This was last updated in the late 90s and the authors have said that it will not be updated in print again -- it will be online only. That's a shame for paper-lovers like me; I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent in the company of this, paging back and forth between entries. Sure, clicking through a website is easier in some ways, but thus far that hasn't materialized. Virtually every writer and novel tha ...more
Aug 10, 2008 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the "must haves" for anyone who collects fantasy or just enjoys reading.
R. Collins
Apr 28, 2014 R. Collins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tragedy of this book is that it was published before Harry Potter, clueless Bella and Jackson's Lord of the Rings films appeared.

The value of the book is that an exhaustive collection of writers, artists and film-makers are gathered into one book (and yes, books are still more user friendly than wikipedia)and the whole genre is presented in a lively, considered and academic way. if you want to discover new novels, missed films and exotic artists, this is the book to have. Try ebay.
Nicole Galloway-Miller
This book has been an amazing help with all my questions, concerns. It was worth every penny. It is set up like an Encyclopedia with terms listed in alphabetical order. The amazing listings are detailed and list trend settings, novels, television shows and movies. The fantasy race definitions include the origin of the creature (original oral myths and legends), traced their evolution and list important writers and works that have presented them in different ways. This has also been an excellent ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Another pivotal book in my life. I found a cheap copy in a book sale, at just the right time, when I was really beginning to form my tastes in reading. It opened my eyes to so many books and authors -- and, more importantly, a way of thinking about fantasy fiction that really strucka chord with me. It's great to browse through, too: serious and knowledgeable, but also well-written and even very funny in places.

I still have that copy I bought in the book sale. The spine needs repairing and the ja
Makes the fantasy end of speculative fiction worthy of serious consideration. Develops its own reading of subgenre through deployment of a coherent lexicon: thinning, the land, wrongness, and so on. The lexicon was likely developed more through the reading of Tolkien and other classics and less through acceptance of terminology of folklorists such as Propp, though that kind of influence is manifest also. Nifty in its identification of many sub-subgenres of fantasy, and useful in making distincti ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: genre fans who want some meat
Recommended to Allan by: bought on a whim.
There should be a six star rating for this, it's that good, too. Does your admiration of genre go beyond the level of 'OMG, Tolkien's elves are awesome'. Then this is for you. It's arrangement of entries might not to be everyones liking, but deal... Writing about it makes me want to go home and curl up with for a bit of random browsing.

Bought my copy at Fruggles, which was an overstock and seconds bookstore chain that's gon. and probably cost me $5.
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Need a big book to find all the questions you have about SF and F?

This is it. It's an actual encyclopedia and it's a tome. A perfect antidote for geeks and newbies alike, writer and readers too, and any one curious about almost any element of speculative fiction.

Get your glasses out since the pages are crammed with text, and expect a work out. This is a BIG book.

Its section on fairies was fantastic!

(btw - thanks Seak!)
Jun 29, 2012 Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I can't say that I've "read" it, per se'... it's an encyclopedia. But, I have read large portions of it and have pored over it for many a happy hour. John Clute has done an amazing job coming up with a reference that is truly "encyclopedic." Anyone who is truly serious about the genre of Fantasy ought to have it on their shelf.
K. Axel
Oct 24, 2008 K. Axel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sure, I haven't read this entire book, but I've read some, and that... is excellent! Very useful and inspiring, in fact, the only problem is that its an encyclopedia from 1997...a lot of water has run under the bridge since then!

I wouldn't mind an updated version...please!
Seizure Romero
This and the companion The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction were indispensable in my bookshop. These two books made me appear much smarter than I really am (and they make great geek-out reading. People who own more than two dictionaries will probably know what I mean).
Apr 20, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly less out-of-date than its sibling, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and surprisingly broad. It's good to know that fantasy is more than just a sword and a smile.
Good all around source. Includes infromation on authors as well as themese, styles, and stock characters.
Christian Lindke
Sep 29, 2009 Christian Lindke rated it it was amazing
The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is a must have resource for the fan of Fantasy literature.
Paul  Perry
An indispensable book for anyone interested in the field.
Nicholas Gourlay
May 13, 2009 Nicholas Gourlay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan
Recommended to Nicholas by: step father
Shelves: non-fiction
This book should never be very far from you.
Jun 29, 2014 Kus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Akhirnya tamat juga :))
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John Frederick Clute (1940- ) is a Canadian born author and critic who has lived in Britain since 1969. He has been described as "an integral part of science fiction's history."

Clute's articles on speculative fiction have appeared in various publications since the 1970s. He is a co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (with Peter Nicholls) and of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with John Gra
More about John Clute...

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“More interestingly, it could be argued that, if fantasy (and debatably the literature of the fantastic as a whole) has a purpose other than to entertain, it is to show readers how to perceive; an extension of the argument is that fantasy may try to alter readers' perception of reality. Of course, quack religions (etc.) make similar attempts, but a major difference is that, while the latter attempt to convert people to their codified way of thinking, the best fantasy introduces its readers into a playground of rethought perception, where there are no restrictions other than those of the human imagination. In some modes of the fantastic – e.g., magic realism and surrealism – the attempt to alter the reader's perception is overt, but most full-fantasy texts have at their core the urge to change the reader; that is, full fantasy is by definition a subversive literary form.” 1 likes
“Sense of Wonder (...) may be defined as a shift in perspective so that the reader, having been made suddenly aware of the true scale of an event or venue, responds to the revelation with awe.” 0 likes
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