A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though novelists write in other genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Some novelists are professional novelists, thus make a living writing novels and other fiction, while others aspire to support themselves in this way or write as an avocation. Most novelists struggle to get their debut novel published, but once published they continue to be published, although few become literary celebrities, thus gaining prestige or a considerable income from their work. Novelists come from a variety of backgrounds and social classes, this shapes the content of their works. Public reception of a novelist's work, the literary criticism commenting on it, the novelists' incorporation of their own experiences into works and characters can lead to the author's personal life and identity being associated with a novel's fictional content. For this reason, the environment within which a novelist works and the reception of their novels by both the public and publishers can be influenced by their demographics or identity.
Some novelists have creative identities derived from their focus on different genres of fiction, such as crime, romance or historical novels. While many novelists compose fiction to satisfy personal desires and commentators ascribe a particular social responsibility or role to novel writers. Many authors use such moral imperatives to justify different approaches to novel writing, including activism or different approaches to representing reality "truthfully". Novelist is a term derivative from the term "novel" describing the "writer of novels"; the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes other definitions of novelist, first appearing in the 16th and 17th centuries to refer to either "An innovator. However, the OED attributes the primary contemporary meaning of "a writer of novels" as first appearing in the 1633 book "East-India Colation" by C. Farewell citing the passage "It beeing a pleasant observation to note the order of their Coaches and Carriages.. As if it had bin the spoyles of a Tryumph leading Captive, or a preparation to some sad Execution" According to the Google Ngrams, the term novelist first appears in the Google Books database in 1521.
The difference between professional and amateur novelists is the author's ability to publish. Many people take up novel writing as a hobby, but the difficulties of completing large scale fictional works of quality prevent the completion of novels. Once authors have completed a novel, they will try to get it published; the publishing industry requires novels to have accessible profitable markets, thus many novelists will self-publish to circumvent the editorial control of publishers. Self-publishing has long been an option for writers, with vanity presses printing bound books for a fee paid by the writer. In these settings, unlike the more traditional publishing industry, activities reserved for a publishing house, like the distribution and promotion of the book, become the author's responsibility; the rise of the Internet and electronic books has made self publishing far less expensive and a realistic way for authors to realize income. Novelists apply a number of different methods to writing their novels, relying on a variety of approaches to inspire creativity.
Some communities encourage amateurs to practice writing novels to develop these unique practices, that vary from author to author. For example, the internet-based group, National Novel Writing Month, encourages people to write 50,000-word novels in the month of November, to give novelists practice completing such works. In the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part – writing a total of over 2.8 billion words. Novelists don't publish their first novels until in life. However, many novelists begin writing at a young age. For example, Iain Banks began writing at eleven, at sixteen completed his first novel, "The Hungarian Lift-Jet", about international arms dealers, "in pencil in a larger-than-foolscap log book". However, he was thirty before he published his first novel, the controversial The Wasp Factory in 1984; the success of this novel enabled Banks to become a full-time novelist. An important writers' juvenilia if not published, is prized by scholars because it provides insight into an author's biography and approach to writing.
Novelists publish as early as their teens. For example, Patrick O'Brian published his first novel, Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard, at the age of 15, which brought him considerable critical attention. Barbara Newhall Follett's The House Without Windows, was accepted and published in 1927 when she was 13 by the Knopf publishing house and earned critical acclaim from the New York Times, the Saturday Review, H. L. Mencken; these works will achieve popular success as well. For example, though Christopher Paolini's Eragon, was not a great critical success, but its popularity among readers placed it on the New York Times Children's Books Best Seller list for 121 weeks. First-time novelists of any age find themselves unable to get works published, because of a number of reasons reflecting the inexperience of the author and the economic realities of publishers. Authors mus
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
An architect is a person who plans and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e. chief builder. Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction. Throughout ancient and medieval history, most of the architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans—such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder; until modern times, there was no clear distinction between engineer. In Europe, the titles architect and engineer were geographical variations that referred to the same person used interchangeably.
It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional'gentleman' architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 15th century but became available after 1500. Pencils were used more for drawing by 1600; the availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas. However, the development was gradual; until the 18th-century, buildings continued to be designed and set out by craftsmen with the exception of high-status projects. In most developed countries, only those qualified with an appropriate license, certification or registration with a relevant body may practice architecture.
Such licensure requires a university degree, successful completion of exams, as well as a training period. Representation of oneself as an architect through the use of terms and titles is restricted to licensed individuals by law, although in general, derivatives such as architectural designer are not protected. To practice architecture implies the ability to practice independently of supervision; the term building design professional, by contrast, is a much broader term that includes professionals who practice independently under an alternate profession, such as engineering professionals, or those who assist in the practice architecture under the supervision of a licensed architect such as intern architects. In many places, non-licensed individuals may perform design services outside the professional restrictions, such design houses and other smaller structures. In the architectural profession and environmental knowledge and construction management, an understanding of business are as important as design.
However, the design is the driving force throughout the project and beyond. An architect accepts a commission from a client; the commission might involve preparing feasibility reports, building audits, the design of a building or of several buildings and the spaces among them. The architect participates in developing the requirements. Throughout the project, the architect co-ordinates a design team. Structural and electrical engineers and other specialists, are hired by the client or the architect, who must ensure that the work is co-ordinated to construct the design; the architect, once hired by a client, is responsible for creating a design concept that both meets the requirements of that client and provides a facility suitable to the required use. The architect must meet with, question, the client in order to ascertain all the requirements of the planned project; the full brief is not clear at the beginning: entailing a degree of risk in the design undertaking. The architect may make early proposals to the client, which may rework the terms of the brief.
The "program" is essential to producing a project. This is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept. Design proposal are expected to be both imaginative and pragmatic. Depending on the place, finance and available crafts and technology in which the design takes place, the precise extent and nature of these expectations will vary. F oresight is a prerequisite as designing buildings is a complex and demanding undertaking. Any design concept must at a early stage in its generation take into account a great number of issues and variables which include qualities of space, the end-use and life-cycle of these proposed spaces, connections and aspects between spaces including how they are put together as well as the impact of proposals on the immediate and wider locality. Selection of appropriate materials and technology must be considered and reviewed at an early stage in the design to ensure there are no setbacks which may occur later; the site and its environs, as well as the culture and history of the place, will influence the design.
The design must countenance increasing concerns with environmental sustainability. The architect may introduce, to greater or lesser degrees, aspects of mathematics and a
Jesus referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, is described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. All modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew, baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry, he preached orally and was referred to as "rabbi". Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers, he was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government, crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, the community they formed became the early Church.
The birth of Jesus is celebrated annually on December 25th as Christmas. His crucifixion is honored on his resurrection on Easter; the used calendar era "AD", from the Latin anno Domini, the equivalent alternative "CE", are based on the approximate birthdate of Jesus. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Christian Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement for sin, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, from where he will return. Most Christians believe; the Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of the Trinity. A minority of Christian denominations reject Trinitarianism, wholly or as non-scriptural. Jesus figures in non-Christian religions and new religious movements.
In Islam, Jesus is considered one of the Messiah. Muslims believe Jesus was a bringer of scripture and was born of a virgin, but was not the son of God; the Quran states. Most Muslims do not believe that he was crucified, but that he was physically raised into Heaven by God. In contrast, Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill Messianic prophecies, was neither divine nor resurrected. A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes followed by the phrase "son of <father's name>", or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth". Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth refer to him as "the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon", "the carpenter's son", or "Joseph's son". In John, the disciple Philip refers to him as "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth"; the name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς. The Greek form is a rendering of the Hebrew ישוע, a variant of the earlier name יהושע, or in English, "Joshua", meaning "Yah saves".
This was the name of Moses' successor and of a Jewish high priest. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus; the 1st-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus. The etymology of Jesus' name in the context of the New Testament is given as "Yahweh is salvation". Since early Christianity, Christians have referred to Jesus as "Jesus Christ"; the word Christ was a office, not a given name. It derives from the Greek Χριστός, a translation of the Hebrew mashiakh meaning "anointed", is transliterated into English as "Messiah". In biblical Judaism, sacred oil was used to anoint certain exceptionally holy people and objects as part of their religious investiture. Christians of the time designated Jesus as "the Christ" because they believed him to be the Messiah, whose arrival is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament.
In postbiblical usage, Christ became viewed as a name—one part of "Jesus Christ". The term "Christian" has been in use since the 1st century; the four canonical gospels are the foremost sources for the message of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament include references to key episodes in his life, such as the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23. Acts of the Apostles refers to the early ministry of its anticipation by John the Baptist. Acts 1:1 -- 11 says more about the Ascension of Jesus. In the undisputed Pauline letters, which were written earlier than the gospels, the words or instructions of Jesus are cited several times; some early Christian groups had separate descriptions of the life and teachings of Jesus that are not included in the New Testament. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel
Richmond is a suburban town in south-west London, 8.2 miles west-southwest of Charing Cross. It is on a meander of the River Thames, with a large number of parks and open spaces, including Richmond Park, many protected conservation areas, which include much of Richmond Hill. A specific Act of Parliament protects the scenic view of the River Thames from Richmond. Richmond was founded following Henry VII's building of Richmond Palace in the 16th century, from which the town derives its name. During this era the town and palace were associated with Elizabeth I, who spent her last days here. During the 18th century Richmond Bridge was completed and many Georgian terraces were built around Richmond Green and on Richmond Hill; these remain well preserved and many have listed building architectural or heritage status. The opening of the railway station in 1846 was a significant event in the absorption of the town into a expanding London. Richmond was part of the ancient parish of Kingston upon Thames in the county of Surrey.
In 1890 the town became a municipal borough, extended to include Kew, Ham and part of Mortlake. The municipal borough was abolished in 1965 when, as a result of local government reorganisation, Richmond was transferred from Surrey to Greater London. Richmond is now part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, has a population of 21,469, it has a significant retail centre with a developed day and evening economy. The name Richmond upon Thames is used, incorrectly, to refer to the town of Richmond: in fact, the suffix should properly be used only in reference to the London Borough; until 1501, Richmond was known as Shene. Shene was not listed in Domesday Book, although it is depicted on the associated maps as Sceon, its Saxon spelling. Henry VII had a palace built there and in 1501 he named it Richmond Palace in recognition of his earldom and his ancestral home at Richmond Castle in Yorkshire; the town that developed nearby took the same name as the palace. Henry I lived in the King's house in "Sheanes".
In 1299 Edward I, the "Hammer of the Scots", took his whole court to the manor house at Sheen, a little east of the bridge and on the riverside, it thus became a royal residence. Edward II, following his defeat by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, founded a monastery for Carmelites at Sheen; when the boy-king Edward III came to the throne in 1327 he gave the manor to his mother Isabella. Edward spent over £ 2,000 on improvements, but in the middle of the work Edward himself died at the manor, in 1377. Richard II was the first English king to make Sheen his main residence, which he did in 1383. Twelve years Richard was so distraught at the death of his wife Anne of Bohemia at the age of 28 that, according to Holinshed, the 16th-century English chronicler, he "caused it to be thrown down and defaced, it was rebuilt between 1414 and 1422, but destroyed by fire in 1497. Following that fire Henry VII built a new residence at Sheen and in 1501 he named it Richmond Palace. There are unconfirmed beliefs.
When Elizabeth I became queen she spent much of her time at Richmond, as she enjoyed hunting stags in the "Newe Parke of Richmonde". She died at the palace on 24 March 1603; the palace was no longer in residential use after 1649, but in 1688 James II ordered its partial reconstruction: this time as a royal nursery. The bulk of the palace had decayed by 1779; this has five bedrooms and was made available on a 65-year lease by the Crown Estate Commissioners in 1986. Beyond the grounds of the old palace, Richmond remained agricultural land until the 18th century. White Lodge, in the middle of what is now Richmond Park, was built as a hunting lodge for George II and during this period the number of large houses in their own grounds – such as Asgill House and Pembroke Lodge – increased significantly; these were followed by the building of further important houses including Downe House, Wick House and The Wick on Richmond Hill, as this area became an fashionable place to live. Richmond Bridge was completed in 1777 to replace a ferry crossing that connected Richmond town centre on the east bank with its neighbouring district of East Twickenham.
Today, together with the well-preserved Georgian terraces that surround Richmond Green and line Richmond Hill to its crest, now has listed building status. As Richmond continued to prosper and expand during the 19th century, much luxurious housing was built on the streets that line Richmond Hill, as well as shops in the town centre to serve the increasing population. In July 1892 the Corporation formed a joint-stock company, the Richmond Electric Light and Power Company, this wired the town for electricity by around 1896. Like many other large towns in Britain, Richmond lost many young people in the First and Second World Wars. In the Second World War, 96 people were killed in air raids, which resulted in the demolition of 297 houses; the Richmond War Memorial, which now commemorates both wars, was installed in the 1920s at the end of Whittaker Avenue, between t
The evil eye is a curse or legend believed to be cast by a malevolent glare given to a person when they are unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause injury. Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are frequently called "evil eyes"; the idea expressed by the term causes many different cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary among different cultures in West Asia; the idea appears multiple times in Jewish rabbinic literature. It was a extended belief among many Mediterranean and Asian tribes and cultures. Charms and decorations with eye-like symbols known as nazars, which are used to repel the evil eye, are a common sight across Portugal, Armenia, Albania, Tunisia, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iraq, parts of North India, Morocco, southern Spain, Malta, the Balkans, the Levant, Afghanistan and Mexico, have become a popular choice of souvenir with tourists. Belief in the evil eye dates back to Classical antiquity.
It is referenced by Hesiod, Plato, Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Aulus Gellius. Peter Walcot's Envy and the Greeks listed more than one hundred works by these and other authors mentioning the evil eye. Classical authors attempted both to explain the function of the evil eye. Plutarch's scientific explanation stated that the eyes were the chief, if not sole, source of the deadly rays that were supposed to spring up like poisoned darts from the inner recesses of a person possessing the evil eye. Plutarch treated the phenomenon of the evil eye as something inexplicable, a source of wonder and cause of incredulity. Pliny the Elder described the ability of certain African enchanters to have the "power of fascination with the eyes and can kill those on whom they fix their gaze"; the idea of the evil eye appears in the poetry of Virgil in a conversation between the shepherds Menalcas and Damoetas. In the passage, Menalcas is lamenting the poor health of his stock: "What eye is it that has fascinated my tender lambs?".
The belief in the evil eye during antiquity varied across different periods. The evil eye was not feared with equal intensity in every corner of the Roman Empire. There were places. In Roman times, not only were individuals considered to possess the power of the evil eye but whole tribes those of Pontus and Scythia, were believed to be transmitters of the evil eye; the phallic charm called fascinum in Latin, from the verb fascinare, "to cast a spell" is one example of an apotropaic object used against the evil eye. They have been found throughout Europe and into the Middle East from contexts dating from the first century BC to the fourth century AD; the phallic charms were objects of personal adornment, but appeared as stone carvings on buildings and wind-chimes. Examples of stone phallic carvings, such as from Leptis Magna, depict a disembodied phallus attacking an evil eye by ejaculating towards it. In describing their ability to deflect the Evil Eye, Ralph Merrifield described the Roman phallic charm as a "kind of lightning conductor for bad luck".
Belief in the evil eye is strongest in West Asia, Latin America and West Africa, Central America, South Asia, Central Asia, Europe the Mediterranean region. Belief in the evil eye is found in the Islamic doctrine, based upon the statement of Prophet Muhammad, "The influence of an evil eye is a fact...". Authentic practices of warding off the evil eye are commonly practiced by Muslims: rather than directly expressing appreciation of, for example, a child's beauty, it is customary to say Masha'Allah, that is, "God has willed it", or invoking God's blessings upon the object or person, being admired. A number of beliefs about the evil eye are found in folk religion revolving around the use of amulets or talismans as a means of protection. In the Aegean Region and other areas where light-colored eyes are rare, people with green eyes, blue eyes, are thought to bestow the curse, intentionally or unintentionally. Thus, in Greece and Turkey amulets against the evil eye take the form of blue eyes, in the painting by John Phillip, below, we witness the culture-clash experienced by a woman who suspects that the artist's gaze implies that he is looking at her with the evil eye.
Among those who do not take the evil eye either by reason of the culture in which they were raised or because they do not believe it, the phrase, "to give someone the evil eye" means to glare at the person in anger or disgust. The term has entered into common usage within the English language. Within the broadcasting industry it refers to when a presenter signals to the interviewee or co-presenter to stop talking due to a shortage of time. Attempts to ward off the curse of the evil eye have resulted in a number of talismans in many cultures; as a class, they are called "apotropaic" talismans, meaning that they turn back harm. Disks or balls, consisting of concentric blue and white circles representing an evil
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