A fairy tale, wonder tale, magic tale, or Märchen is a folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Such stories feature entities such as dwarfs, elves, giants, goblins, mermaids, talking animals, unicorns, or witches, magic or enchantments. In most cultures, there is no clear line separating myth from fairy tale. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends and explicit moral tales, including beast fables; the term is used for stories with origins in European tradition and, at least in recent centuries relates to children's literature. In less technical contexts, the term is used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy-tale ending" or "fairy-tale romance". Colloquially, the term "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can mean any far-fetched story or tall tale. Legends are perceived as real. However, unlike legends and epics, fairy tales do not contain more than superficial references to religion and to actual places and events. Fairy tales occur both in literary form.
Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. The history of the fairy tale is difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, such stories may date back thousands of years, some to the Bronze Age more than 6,500 years ago. Fairy tales, works derived from fairy tales, are still written today. Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways; the Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp are among the most notable. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales; some folklorists prefer to use the German term Märchen or "wonder tale" to refer to the genre over fairy tale, a practice given weight by the definition of Thompson in his 1977 edition of The Folktale: "a tale of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes.
It moves in an unreal world without definite locality or definite creatures and is filled with the marvellous. In this never-never land, humble heroes kill adversaries, succeed to kingdoms and marry princesses." The characters and motifs of fairy tales are simple and archetypal: princesses and goose-girls. Although the fairy tale is a distinct genre within the larger category of folktale, the definition that marks a work as a fairy tale is a source of considerable dispute; the term itself comes from the translation of Madame D'Aulnoy's Conte de fées, first used in her collection in 1697. Common parlance conflates fairy tales with beast fables and other folktales, scholars differ on the degree to which the presence of fairies and/or mythical beings should be taken as a differentiator. Vladimir Propp, in his Morphology of the Folktale, criticized the common distinction between "fairy tales" and "animal tales" on the grounds that many tales contained both fantastic elements and animals. To select works for his analysis, Propp used all Russian folktales classified as a folklore Aarne-Thompson 300-749 – in a cataloguing system that made such a distinction – to gain a clear set of tales.
His own analysis identified fairy tales by their plot elements, but that in itself has been criticized, as the analysis does not lend itself to tales that do not involve a quest, furthermore, the same plot elements are found in non-fairy tale works. Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine:, a fairytale... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful. As Stith Thompson points out, talking animals and the presence of magic seem to be more common to the fairy tale than fairies themselves. However, the mere presence of animals that talk does not make a tale a fairy tale when the animal is a mask on a human face, as in fables. In his essay "On Fairy-Stories", J. R. R. Tolkien agreed with the exclusion of "fairies" from the definition, defining fairy tales as stories about the adventures of men in Faërie, the land of fairies, fairytale princes and princesses, dwarves and not only other magical species but many other marvels. However, the same essay excludes tales that are considered fairy tales, citing as an example The Monkey's Heart, which Andrew Lang included in The Lilac Fairy Book.
Steven Swann Jones identified the presence of magic as the feature by which fairy tales can be distinguished from other sorts of folktales. Davidson and Chaudri identify "transformation" as the key feature of the genre. From a psychological point of view, Jean Chiriac argued for the necessity of the fantastic in these narratives. In terms of aesthetic values, Italo Calvino cited the fairy tale as a prime example of "quickness" in literature, b
Early history of fantasy
Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning, though the idea of a distinct genre, in the modern sense, is less than two centuries old. The parallel article History of fantasy deals with fantasy literature in the English language; the history of French fantasy is covered in greater detail under Fantastique. The Epic of Gilgamesh was written over generations following the supposed reign of King Gilgamesh, is seen as a mythologized version of his life; this figure is sometimes an influence and, more a figure in modern fantasy. Some scholars believe The Epic of Gilgamesh is a source used by the authors of the Bible the story of Noah and the flood; the magic part of fantasy is due to the Mesopotamian world: the use of "magical words" that have the power to command the spirits. India has a long tradition of fantastical characters, dating back to Vedic mythology. Several modern fantasy works such as RG Veda draw on the Rig-Veda as a source. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters in the Indian epics, such as the Mahabharata by Vyasa, the Ramayana by Valmiki, both of which were influential in Asia.
The Panchatantra was influential in the Middle East. It used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science. Talking animals endowed with human qualities have now become a staple of modern fantasy; the Baital Pachisi is a collection of various fantasy tales set within a frame story about an encounter between King Vikramāditya and a Vetala, an early mythical creature resembling a vampire. According to Richard Francis Burton and Isabel Burton, the Baital Pachisi "is the germ which culminated in the Arabian Nights, which inspired the Golden Ass of Apuleius, Boccacio's Decamerone, the Pentamerone, all that class of facetious fictitious literature." Classical mythology is replete with fantastical stories and characters, the best known being the works of Homer and Virgil. The contribution of the Greco-Roman world to fantasy is vast and includes: The hero's journey; the philosophy of Plato has had great influence on the fantasy genre. In the Christian Platonic tradition, the reality of other worlds, an overarching structure of great metaphysical and moral importance, has lent substance to the fantasy worlds of modern works.
The world of magic is connected with the Roman Greek world. With Empedocles, the elements, they are used in fantasy works as personifications of the forces of nature. Other than magic concerns include: the use of a mysterious tool endowed with special powers. Myths important for fantasy include: The myth of Titans; the figures of Chinese dragons were influential on the modern fantasy use of the dragon, tempering the greedy evil diabolical Western dragon. Chinese traditions have been influential in the vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart. Taoist beliefs about neijin and its influence on martial arts have been a major influence on wuxia, a subgenre of the martial arts film, sometimes fantasy, when the practice of wuxia is used fictitiously to achieve super-human feats, as in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; the most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of many ancient and medieval folk tales.
The epic reached its final form by the fourteenth century. All Arabian fairy tales were called "Arabian Nights" when translated into English, regardless of whether they appeared in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, in any version, a number of tales are known in Europe as "Arabian Nights" despite existing in no Arabic manuscript; this epic has been influential in the West since it was translated in the 18th century, first by Antoine Galland. Many imitations were written in France. Various characters from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba. Part of its popularity may have sprung from the increasing historical and geographical knowledge, so that places of which little was known and so marvels were plausible had to be set further "long ago" or farther "far away". A number of elements from Persian and Arabian mythology are now common in modern fantasy, such as genies, bahamuts, ma
Dark fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy literary and cinematic works that incorporate darker and frightening themes of fantasy. It often combines fantasy with elements of horror or has a gloomy, dark atmosphere, or a sense of horror and dread. A strict definition for dark fantasy is difficult to pin down. Gertrude Barrows Bennett has been called "the woman who invented dark fantasy". Both Charles L. Grant and Karl Edward Wagner are credited with having coined the term "dark fantasy"—although both authors were describing different styles of fiction. Brian Stableford argues "dark fantasy" can be usefully defined as subgenre of stories that attempt to "incorporate elements of horror fiction" into the standard formulae of fantasy stories. Stableford suggests that supernatural horror set in the real world is a form of "contemporary fantasy", whereas supernatural horror set or wholly in "secondary worlds" should be described as "dark fantasy". Additionally, other authors and publishers have adopted dark fantasy to describe various other works.
However, these stories share universal similarities beyond supernatural occurrences and a dark brooding, tone. As a result, dark fantasy cannot be solidly connected to a defining set of tropes; the term itself may refer collectively to tales that are either fantasy-based. Some writers use "dark fantasy" as an alternative description to "horror", because they feel the latter term is too lurid or vivid. Charles L. Grant is cited as having coined the term "dark fantasy". Grant defined his brand of dark fantasy as "a type of horror story in which humanity is threatened by forces beyond human understanding", he used dark fantasy as an alternative to horror, as horror was associated with more visceral works. Dark fantasy is sometimes used to describe stories told from a monster's point of view, or that present a more sympathetic view of supernatural beings associated with horror. Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germain, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman are early examples of this style of dark fantasy.
This is in contrast to the traditional horror model, which focuses more on the victims and survivors. In a more general sense, dark fantasy is used as a synonym for supernatural horror, to distinguish horror stories that contain elements of the supernatural from those that do not. For example, a story about a werewolf or vampire could be described as dark fantasy, while a story about a serial killer would be horror. Stableford suggests that the type of horror conveyed by fantasy stories such as William Beckford's Vathek and Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death "is more aesthetic than visceral or existential", that such stories should be considered "dark fantasies" rather than the "supernaturalized thrillers" of conventional horror fiction. Karl Edward Wagner is credited for creating the term "dark fantasy" when used in a more fantasy-based context. Wagner used it to describe his fiction about the Gothic warrior Kane. Since "dark fantasy" has sometimes been applied to sword and sorcery and high fantasy fiction that features anti-heroic or morally ambiguous protagonists.
Another good example under this definition of dark fantasy is Michael Moorcock's saga of the albino swordsman Elric. The fantasy work of H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and their emulators have been specified as "dark fantasy", since the imaginary worlds they depicted contain a large number of horror elements. Dark fantasy is used to describe fantasy works by authors that the public associates with the horror genre. Examples of this would be Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, Peter Straub's Shadowland and Clive Barker's Weaveworld. Alternatively, dark fantasy is sometimes used for "darker" fiction written by authors best known for other styles of fantasy. Key would fit here. On Dark Fantasy — author Lucy Snyder's essay on the differences between "pure" horror and dark fantasy
Tokusatsu is a Japanese term for live-action film or television drama that makes heavy use of special effects. Tokusatsu entertainment deals with science fiction, fantasy or horror, but films and television shows in other genres can sometimes count as tokusatsu as well; the most popular types of tokusatsu include kaiju monster films like the Godzilla and Gamera film series. Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres, for example the Ultraman and Super Sentai series. Tokusatsu is one of the most popular forms of Japanese entertainment, but despite the popularity of films and television programs based on tokusatsu properties such as Godzilla or Super Sentai, most tokusatsu films and television programs are not known outside Asia. Tokusatsu has origins in early Japanese theater in kabuki and in bunraku, which utilized some of the earliest forms of special effects puppetry. Modern tokusatsu, did not begin to take shape until the early 1950s, with the conceptual and creative birth of Godzilla, one of the most famous monsters of all time.
The special-effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya and the director Ishirō Honda became the driving forces behind 1954's Godzilla. Tsuburaya, inspired by the American film King Kong, formulated many of the techniques that would become staples of the genre, such as so-called suitmation—the use of a human actor in a costume to play a giant monster—combined with the use of miniatures and scaled-down city sets. Godzilla forever changed the landscape of Japanese science fiction and cinema by creating a uniquely Japanese vision in a genre dominated by American cinema. In 1954, Godzilla kickstarted the kaiju genre in Japan called the "Monster Boom", which remained popular for several decades, with characters such as the aforementioned Godzilla and King Ghidorah leading the market. However, in 1957 Shintoho produced the first film serial featuring the superhero character Super Giant, signaling a shift in popularity that favored masked heroes over giant monsters called the "Henshin Boom" started by Kamen Rider.
Along with the anime Astro Boy, the Super Giant serials had a profound effect on the world of tokusatsu. The following year, Moonlight Mask premiered, the first of numerous televised superhero dramas that would make up one of the most popular tokusatsu subgenres. Created by Kōhan Kawauchi, he followed-up its success with the tokusatsu superhero shows Seven Color Mask and Messenger of Allah, both starring a young Sonny Chiba; these original productions preceded the first color-television tokusatsu series, Ambassador Magma and Ultraman, which heralded the Kyodai Hero genre, wherein a regular-sized protagonist grows to larger proportions to fight large monsters. Popular tokusatsu superhero shows in the 1970s included Kamen Rider, Warrior of Love Rainbowman, Super Sentai and Spider-Man. Suitmation in Japanese identifies the process in tokusatsu movies and television programs used to portray a monster using suit acting; the exact origin of the term remains unknown. At the least, it was used to promote the Godzilla suit from The Return of Godzilla.
The many productions of tokusatsu series have general themes common throughout different groups. Kaiju productions feature monsters, or giant monsters; such series include Ultra Q, the Godzilla film series, the Gamera series, the Daimajin series, films such as Frankenstein Conquers the World, War of the Gargantuas, The X from Outer Space. Kaijin productions feature supervillains as their central character; this includes films such as The Secret of the Telegian, The Human Vapor, The H-Man, Half Human, Tomei Ningen. Since about 1960, several long-running television-series have combined various other themes. Tsuburaya Productions has had the Ultra Series starting with Ultra Q and Ultraman in 1966. P Productions began their foray into tokusatsu in 1966 with the series Ambassador Magma, they had involvement in the Lion-Maru series which concluded in November 2006. Toei Company has several series that fall under their Toei Superheroes category of programming, starting in 1961 with the single series, Moonlight Mask.
They produced several other long running series, starting with Shotaro Ishinomori's Kamen Rider Series in 1971, the Super Sentai series in 1975, the Metal Hero Series in 1982, the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series in 1981. Toei produced several other television series based on Ishinomori's works, including Android Kikaider and Kikaider 01, Robot Detective and Inazuman Flash, Kaiketsu Zubat. Toei was involved in the Spider-Man television series, which influenced their subsequent Super Sentai series. In 2003, TV Asahi began broadcasting the Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series in a weekly one-hour block known as Super Hero Time. Toho, the creators of Godzilla had their hands in creating the Chouseishin Series of programs from 2003 to 2006. In 2006, Keita Amemiya's Garo, a mature late-night tokusatsu drama was released, starting a franchise composed of several television series and films. Other mature late-night series followed, including a revival of Lion-Maru in Lion-Maru G, the Daimajin Kanon television series, Shougeki Gouraigan!!.
Various movies classified as tokusatsu work like generalized science fiction films. These include Warning from Space (宇宙人東京に現わる, Uchūjin Tokyo ni arawaru, Spacemen Appear in Toky
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe inspired by real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, graphic novels and video games. Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works. Most fantasy uses other supernatural elements as a main plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are common in many of these worlds. An identifying trait of fantasy is the author's reliance on imagination to create narrative elements that do not have to rely on history or nature to be coherent; this differs from realistic fiction in that realistic fiction has to attend to the history and natural laws of reality, where fantasy does not.
An author applies his or her imagination to come up with characters and settings that are impossible in reality. Many fantasy authors use real-world mythology as inspiration. For instance, a narrative that takes place in an imagined town in the northeastern United States could be considered realistic fiction as long as the plot and characters are consistent with the history of a region and the natural characteristics that someone, to the northeastern United States expects. Fantasy has been compared to science fiction and horror because they are the major categories of speculative fiction. Fantasy is distinguished from science fiction by the plausibility of the narrative elements. A science fiction narrative is unlikely, though possible through logical scientific or technological extrapolation, where fantasy narratives do not need to be scientifically possible. Authors have to rely on the readers' suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the unbelievable or impossible for the sake of enjoyment, in order to write effective fantasies.
Despite both genres' heavy reliance on the supernatural and horror are distinguishable. Horror evokes fear through the protagonists' weaknesses or inability to deal with the antagonists. Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were a part of literature from its beginning. Fantasy elements occur throughout the ancient Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh; the ancient Babylonian creation epic, the Enûma Eliš, in which the god Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat, contains the theme of a cosmic battle between good and evil, characteristic of the modern fantasy genre. Genres of romantic and fantasy literature existed in ancient Egypt; the Tales of the Court of King Khufu, preserved in the Westcar Papyrus and was written in the middle of the second half of the eighteenth century BC, preserves a mixture of stories with elements of historical fiction and satire. Egyptian funerary texts preserve mythological tales, the most significant of which are the myths of Osiris and his son Horus. Folk tales with fantastic elements intended for adults were a major genre of ancient Greek literature.
The comedies of Aristophanes are filled with fantastic elements his play The Birds, in which an Athenian man builds a city in the clouds with the birds and challenges Zeus's authority. Ovid's Metamorphoses and Apuleius's The Golden Ass are both works that influenced the development of the fantasy genre by taking mythic elements and weaving them into personal accounts. Both works involve complex narratives in which humans beings are transformed into animals or inanimate objects. Platonic teachings and early Christian theology are major influences on the modern fantasy genre. Plato used allegories to convey many of his teachings, early Christian writers interpreted both the Old and New Testaments as employing parables to relay spiritual truths; this ability to find meaning in a story, not true became the foundation that allowed the modern fantasy genre to develop. The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, a compilation of many ancient and medieval folk tales.
Various characters from this epic have become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin and Ali Baba. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters in the Indian epics; the Panchatantra, for example, used various animal fables and magical tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political science. Chinese traditions have been influential in the vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart. Beowulf is among the best known of the Nordic tales in the English speaking world, has had deep influence on the fantasy genre. Norse mythology, as found in the Elder Edda and the Younger Edda, includes such figures as Odin and his fellow Aesir, dwarves, elves and giants; these elements have been directly imported into various fantasy works. The separate folklore of Ireland and Scotland has sometimes been us
Romantic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction, describing a fantasy story using many of the elements and conventions of the chivalric romance genre. One of the key features of romantic fantasy involves the focus on relationships, social and romantic. Romantic fantasy has been published by both fantasy lines and romance lines; some publishers distinguish between "romantic fantasy" where the fantasy elements is most important and "fantasy romance" where the romance are most important. Others say that "the borderline between fantasy romance and romantic fantasy has ceased to exist, or if it's still there, it's moving back and forth constantly". A teenager either from an overly strict or abusive family runs away and discovers that they possess either magical or psychic powers and a glorious destiny; this destiny involves saving a city, kingdom, or other large group from harm by a powerful villain or a dangerous monster. A somewhat older person a minor noble or someone who has lost a loved one and has left their previous home in search of a new life either overthrows an usurper or saves their kingdom from outside invasion.
Such characters are warriors, uncover the plot through a combination of intrigue and use of their powers. In the course of this adventure, the character falls in love and, by the end of the novel or at least by the end of the series, their lover becomes their life-partner; the complexities of this romance form a significant focus in these novels. In a time of troubles, a group of adolescents or adults are drawn together through circumstance and destiny to form a group or organization, larger than the sum of its parts; these young people are outcasts, orphans, or people on the fringes of society. Most or all of these people possess some form of special powers; the groups' special powers sometimes form a complementary set, such as a group comprising four people each of whom has the ability to command one of the four classical elements. These characters find friendship and sometimes love with the others in their newly formed group; this group ends up either overthrowing the current social order or overcoming some threat that no one else is aware of or able to face.
Characters may start as solitary wanderers in romantic fantasy, but they never remain that way for long. One of the key features of romantic fantasy involves the focus on social, to a lesser extent, political relationships; the characters all find close friends and other companions with whom they either live or travel, as well as a larger social circle where they all belong. In addition, many character have significant ties with the larger world. Many of these characters have a sworn duty to their kingdom; the rootless travelers of sword and sorcery novels are found in romantic fantasy. Catherine Asaro's Lost Continent series. Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. Tamora Pierce's The Immortals quartet. Wen Spencer's Tinker series. Fantasy romance Medieval fantasy Fantasy Romance Writers
Gods and demons fiction
Gods and demons fiction is a subgenre of fantasy fiction that revolves around the deities and monsters of Chinese mythology. The term shenmo xiaoshuo, coined in the early 20th century by the writer and literary historian Lu Xun means "fiction of gods and demons". Works of shenmo fiction include The Investiture of the Gods. Shenmo first appeared in the Ming Dynasty as a genre of vernacular fiction, a style of writing based on spoken Chinese rather than Classical Chinese; the roots of the genre are found in traditional legends. Plot elements like the use of magic and alchemy were derived from Chinese mythology and religion, including Taoism and Buddhism, popular among Ming intellectuals; the Sorcerer's Revolt is an early demons novel attributed to Luo Guanzhong. In the story, Wang Ze begins a rebellion against the government with the aid of magic; the Four Journeys is another early shenmo work composed of four novels and published during the dynasty as a compilation of folk stories. The Story of Han Xiangzi, a Taoist novel from the same period shares this supernatural theme but contains heavier religious overtones.
The most well known examples of shenmo fiction are Journey to the West and The Investiture of the Gods. Journey to the West in particular is considered by Chinese literary critics as the chef-d'oeuvre of shenmo novels; the novel's authorship is attributed to Wu Cheng'en and was first published in 1592 by Shitedang, a Ming publishing house. The popularity of Journey to the West inspired a series of shenmo copycats that borrowed plot elements from the book. Works of gods and demons fiction drifted away from the purely fantastical themes of novels like Journey to the West. Shenmo novels carried more humanistic themes. During the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, a subgenre of comedic shenmo had emerged; the grotesque exposés of the Qing dynasty reference the supernatural motifs of shenmo xiaoshuo, but in the Qing exposés, the division between the real and unreal is less clear cut. The supernatural is placed outside conventional fantasy settings and presented as a natural part of a realistic world, bringing about its grotesque nature.
This trait is embodied in the Journey to the West and other shenmo parodies of the late Qing dynasty. In A Ridiculous Journey to the West by Wu Jianwen, the protagonist Bare-Armed Gibbon, a more venal version of Sun Wukong, aids the Vulture King once he is unable to wring any money out of a penniless fish that the vulture had caught and dropped in a puddle; the monkey returns in another Wu Jianwen story, Long Live the Constitution, bickers with other characters from Journey to the West over a constitution for Heaven. The four main characters of Journey to the West, the monkey, Tang Sanzang, Zhu Bajie, Sha Wujing, travel to modern Shanghai in the New Journey to the West by Lengxue. In Shanghai, they mingle with prostitutes, suffer from drug addiction, play games of mahjong. Journey to the West was not the only demons novel lampooned. New Investiture of the Gods is a parody of Investiture of the Gods by Dalu, published as a guji xiaoshuo comedy. Novels in this subgenre include an expanded revision of The Sorcerer's Revolt, What Sort of Book Is This?, Romance of Devil Killing, Quelling the Demons.
Instead of focusing only on a supernatural realm, shenmo comedies used fantasy as a social commentary on the follies of the human world. Lu Xun theorized that the shenmo genre shaped the satirical works written in the Qing Dynasty; the genre influenced the science fantasy novels of the late Qing. Shenmo literature declined in the early 20th century; the generation of writers following the May Fourth Movement rejected fantasy in favor of literary realism influenced by the trends of 19th-century European literature. Chinese writers regarded fantasy genres like shenmo as superstitious and a product of a feudal society. Stories of gods and monsters were seen as an obstacle to the modernization of China and scientific progress; the writer Hu Shih wrote that the spells and magical creatures of Chinese fiction were more harmful to the Chinese people than the germs discovered by Louis Pasteur. Stories of the supernatural were denounced during the Cultural Revolution, an era when "Down with ox-ghosts and snake-spirits" was a popular Communist slogan.
Shenmo and other fantasy genres experienced a revival in Taiwan, Hong Kong, in Mainland China after the Cultural Revolution ended. Having returned to Chinese popular culture, fantasy has populated film, television and literature. Contemporary writers use supernatural themes to accentuate the otherworldly atmosphere of their works; the term shenmo xiaoshuo was coined by the writer and literary historian Lu Xun in his book A Brief History of Chinese Fiction, which has three chapters on the genre. The literary historian Mei Chun translates Lu Xun's term as "supernatural/ fantastic"; the term was adopted as a convention by the generations of Chinese literary critics that followed him. In their 1959 translation of Lu Xun's book, Gladys Yang and Yang Xianyi translate shenmo as "Gods and Devils". Lin Chin, a historian of Chinese literature, categorized the fantasy novels of the Ming dynasty as shenguai xiaoshuo, "novels of gods and strange phenomenon". Zhong Kui Wang, David Der-wei. Fin-de-siècle Splendor: Repressed Modernities of Late Qing Fiction, 1849-1911.
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