Monday, September 17, 2007
Literary fairy tales, such as were written by Charles Perrault, and Madame d'Aulnoy, became very popular, early in this era. Many of Perrault's tales became fairy tale staples, and influenced latter fantasy as such. Indeed, when Madame d'Aulnoy termed her works contes de fée (fairy tales), she invented the term that is now generally used for the genre, thus distinguishing such tales from those involving no marvels. This would influence later writers, who took up the folk fairy tales in the same manner, in the Romantic era.
Following somewhat in the footsteps of Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift used satire in the form of fantasy to parody many of the political and social conventions of its time, and can be considered the earliest work of modern-style fantasy. Swift's use of fictional countries and other lands was likely a major influence on what would later become the fantasy genre.
This era, however, was noteably hostile to fantasy. Writers of the new types of fiction such as Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding were realistic in style, and many early realistic works were critical of fantasical elements in fiction. Aside from a few tales of witchcraft and ghost stories, very little fantasy was written during this time.