Fairy Tales and Fantasy Revisited

Today on the Guild of Dreams, I revisit the distinctions between fairy tales and fantasy and discuss the influences of one form on the other.

Guild Of Dreams

Earlier this week, Jane Rosenberg LaForge wrote a provocative guest post on what she sees as key differences between fantasy and fairy tales. My first reaction to her argument was a bit of umbrage: my monsters are humans who behave monstrously too! Nevertheless, her essay prompted me to ponder the boundaries between fantasy and fairy tales and whether the “human monster” really does represent a key difference.

RapunzTowerIn the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, Donald Haase states that the difference between fantasy and fairy tale is belief—fairy tale–tellers do not ask readers to believe the story actually happened, while fantasy authors want readers to suspend disbelief and, at least for the duration of the story, accept the tale as real. Fairy tale authors explicitly inform readers that the narrative events are impossible. In addition, most fairy tales were crafted to impart ethical and moral lessons and the tellers…

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