View Full Version : Fathers of fantasy
August 15th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Fritz Leiber was the name I was trying to remember, but he started writing his stuff earlier on, you say?
August 15th, 2003, 01:11 PM
Sorry, mea culpa: Leiber didn't really catch on until the late 1950's, in other words a few years after The Lord of the Rings was published.
August 17th, 2003, 04:34 PM
You should DEFINITELY check out this topic:
http://www.sffworld.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=243 (Forgotten Classic Fantasy)
A lot of Pre-Tolkien books and authors are discussed.
Tolkien may be more like "Everyone's Favorite Uncle" of fantasy, while he is the standard for the Big Fat Fantasies, and a giant in his own right, there are a lot of authors who were churning out great fantastic literature before LOTR.
August 18th, 2003, 03:54 AM
L. Frank Baum who wrote the Oz books back in the early 1900's. For anyone who doesn't know, besides the Wizard of Oz (arguably the worst of the books) there is a whole series of books that take place in the weird and wonderful land of Oz. While they probably qualify as children's books, they are really great, and I enjoyed rereading a couple of them as an adult.
August 20th, 2003, 01:42 AM
C.S. Lewis in the 1950's, but today it would be labeled "Urban Fantasy", though it was written mostly for children.
Roger Zelazny in the early 70's
Terry Brooks in the late 70's
Eddings and Fiest in the early 80's
So, whether you like or dislike these authors, they are the ones who set the genre where it is now. When you include Tolkien, these are the ones who brought in the readers of fantasy, so the likes of Jordan, Goodkind and Martin could become successful.
August 26th, 2003, 10:27 PM
Tolkien post WW1?
I believe the first publication of his work occured in 1958. That would be 12 years after WW2!
Not to be mean or anything. I am a stickler for details as you all know!
August 27th, 2003, 01:10 AM
Tolkien also wrote the hobbit dude.
August 27th, 2003, 11:53 AM
The Hobbit was published 1937. And Tolkien himself fought in WWI . . .
Hope that helps.
August 27th, 2003, 07:42 PM
Also 1958 is post WWI
August 29th, 2003, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by jfclark
Some scholars trace the beginnings of the fantasy novel to the Gothic novel craze that began in the late 18th century and culminated in its greatest exponent, Shelley's Frankenstein. A few would say it goes back earlier to the period of Gulliver's Travels and other Augustan satires. Many like to think of novelists such as George Macdonald and William Morris, who were late-Victorian novelists, as establishing many of the templates of 20th century quasi-medieval fantasy. These forms were only strengthened by Lord Dunsany, whose magical prose and deep sense of the powers of fantastic writing set the stage for Tolkien and his contemporaries, like C.S. Lewis and E.R. Eddison. While the Tolkien crowd was busy in England, Fritz Leiber and Robert Howard were busy in America forging the structures of sword-and-sorcery character-based fantasy.
These novelists, above all others, are credited with the growth and development of the modern fantasy novel, with The Lord of the Rings as its most significant example.
This is the best answer. However, I would add Mervyn Peake, T.H. White and James Branch Cabel to the equation. That makes the list of forebears something like:
1. George MacDonald
2. William Morris
3. Lord Dunsany
4. James Branch Cabel
5. E.R. Eddison
5. C.S. Lewis
6. Mervyn Peake
7. T.H. White
I'm not including Leiber or Howard. And whilst KatG is right in mentioning women authors, all that came later. And yes, Lewis, White and Peake could be considered contemparies of Tolkien, rather than forebears. But that's chronologically, not in terms of the development of the fantasy genre.
Having said this, nothing - absolutely nothing - really preceded The Lord Of The Rings. The fact that Tolkien was able to produce this seminal work remains a mystery. To say that it is awe inspiring is to say Winston Churchill was a good leader. It's sort of a given.
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