Who invented the modern fantasy genre?

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Aug 20 12:16:22 EDT 2004

On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 15:07:41 +0100, Charles Butler wrote:

>Not Tolkien, apparently, but Stephen Donaldson - at least according to this
>article from the Bookseller: http://www.thebookseller.com/?pid=2&did=13285.
>(Seems SD is about to published the first volume of the last quartet of the
>Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, after a 25-year gap.) I haven't read him -
>but I know some/most of you have. Did he add anything significant to the
>Middle-earth mix? Enough to credit him with the invention of a genre?

I'd hardly call him the inventor of modern fantasy, unless "modern" is being
used in a very specific sense.  He was one of the first to reevaluate the
typical fantasy setting and The Quest--discarded a lot of the cliches about
the hero's motivation and Absolute Good vs. Absolute Evil.  But I'd be more
inclined to say he broke ground that others later cultivated.  Even if he
was the first to challenge the Tough Guide Fantasy World, others have been
challenging those assumptions in completely different ways.

Melissa Proffitt

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