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The Fantasy Book: An Illustrated History From Dracula To Tolkien
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The Fantasy Book: An Illustrated History From Dracula To Tolkien

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Contents include: Gothic origins / Early grandmasters of fantasy: E. T. A. Hoffman, Edgar Allan Poe, Gogol, and Russian fantasy / Themes and characters: Vampires, A gentleman from Transylvania, Werewolves, The Golem / Ghost and horror stories in Britain: Victorian ghost stories, Le Fanu and others, The classic English ghost story, M.R. James and others, Psychic subtleties, ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by Collier Books
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Shawn
Nov 09, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a nice, wide-ranging overview of the fantastic in literature (covering fantasy, horror, the weird tale, etc.). It's basically a long-form essay broken down into different approaches, periods and countries - the extra space is filled with some vintage illustrations and paintings from all time periods.

In some sense, there wasn't much here I didn't already know (except some of the more obscure European writers, which the international section is indispensable for). The opening has a nice
...more
Michael
Sep 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Historical but limited mostly to antiquity, expansive but dismissive of all but the most high-minded material; not anything you haven't read before.
Suprisingly, no index of art credits, despite many modern artworks towards the last half of the book - I doubt Rottensteiner bother get permission of use, so surprised it didn't get Collier Books (his US publisher) in hot water in 1978.
Rebecca Lovatt
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely an interesting read.. Some of the critisms and comments toward some other well-known and widely loved authors (HP Lovecraft, Tolkien and the like) really are insightful and just enjoyable to read.. Most comments toward those authors just range from "Loved it." But to read a negative comment toward them, and the reasoning.. Well, it's a change, and it's pretty neat to get a different view on them.

There's a lot of information in here which I already knew, but it does provide a
...more
Anne-floor Brouwer
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
very outdated since the fantasy genre has grown more than ever in the last years. It is also very opinionated, but the writer warns the reader for that in the introduction. Still made an interesting read and could make a good historocal reverence book, if one can filter through the opinions.
Tone
May 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
A slightly clunky read but contains a lot of information about fantasy writers of the 19th and early 20th centuries who are almost forgotten.
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Franz Rottensteiner, never a comfortable critic, has enlivened sf discussion for many years. He is a long-tim editor of the respected Austrian fanzine, Quarber Merkur.
“Nevertheless, the potential and actual importance of fantastic literature lies in such psychic links: what appears to be the result of an overweening imagination, boldly and arbitrarily defying the laws of time, space and ordered causality, is closely connected with, and structured by, the categories of the subconscious, the inner impulses of man's nature. At first glance the scope of fantastic literature, free as it is from the restrictions of natural law, appears to be unlimited. A closer look, however, will show that a few dominant themes and motifs constantly recur: deals with the Devil; returns from the grave for revenge or atonement; invisible creatures; vampires; werewolves; golems; animated puppets or automatons; witchcraft and sorcery; human organs operating as separate entities, and so on. Fantastic literature is a kind of fiction that always leads us back to ourselves, however exotic the presentation; and the objects and events, however bizarre they seem, are simply externalizations of inner psychic states. This may often be mere mummery, but on occasion it seems to touch the heart in its inmost depths and become great literature.” 9 likes
“The fantastic postulates that there are forces in the outside world, and in our own natures, which we can neither know nor control, and these forces may even constitute the essence of our existence, beneath the comforting rational surface. The fantastic is, moreover, a product of human imagination, perhaps even an excess of imagination. It arises when laws thought to be absolute are transcended, in the borderland between life and death, the animate and the inanimate, the self and the world; it arises when the real turns into the unreal, and the solid presence into vision, dream or hallucination. The fantastic is the unexpected occurrence, the startling novelty which goes contrary to all our expectations of what is possible. The ego multiplies and splits, time and space are distorted.” 3 likes
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