Continued from Part Two…
- 1851 John Ruskin’s King of the Golden River provides the cardinal English example of an art fairy tale.
- 1853 Richard Wagner begins his operatic transfiguration of Nordic fantasy in The Rheingold.
- 1854–56 Éliphas Lévi’s Dogma and Ritual of Transcendental Magic provides a handbook for modern lifestyle fantasy.
- 1855 Robert Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” furnishes a key source of enigmatic imagery.
- 1856 William Morris’s account of “The Hollow Land” lays down a template for the design and decoration of secondary worlds.
- 1857 Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal pioneers decadent style.
- 1858 George MacDonald’s Phantastes lays down a template for didactic
- 1859 Éliphas Lévi’s History of Magic completes his couplet of scholarly
fantasies, adding theory to practice.
- 1860 Paul Féval’s multilayered and chimerical Knightshade demonstrates the elasticity of metafiction.
- 1861 Bulwer-Lytton’s A Strange Story reclaims, with interest, what
Éliphas Lévi had borrowed from Zanoni.
- 1862 Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” explores the symbolism of “forbidden fruit.” Jules Michelet’s La Sorcière demonstrates that real historians
can fake history more skillfully and more extravagantly than mere pretenders.
- 1863 Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies explores the utility of phantasmagoric imagery in Christian fantasy.
- 1865 In response to George MacDonald’s suggestion that he too might
produce something akin to The Water Babies, Lewis Carroll prepares Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for publication, achieving something quite
- 1866 Sabine Baring-Gould’s Curious Myths of the Middle Ages provides
easily accessible imaginative fuel for contemporary fantasists. Théophile
Gautier’s Spirite pioneers paranormal romance. William Gilbert’s The
Magic Mirror exemplifies the Victorian attitude to wish-fulfillment fantasies.
- 1867 Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt demonstrates the difficulty of putting
fantasy on stage.
- 1869 Jean Ingelow’s Mopsa the Fairy exemplifies the sentimental aspects of the Victorian fascination with fairies.
- 1870 Frank R. Stockton’s Ting-a-Ling founds an American tradition of
- 1871 Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass takes “nonsense” to new extremes of logical effect.
- 1872 George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin exemplifies the
darker aspects of the Victorian fascination with fairies.
- 1874 Gustave Flaubert publishes the revised version of The Temptation
of Saint Anthony, featuring a more comprehensively modernized image of
- 1876 Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark gives nonsense its verse epic.
- 1877 Madame Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled lays the foundation for a scholarly and lifestyle fantasy of unprecedented complexity. Mrs. Molesworth’s
The Cuckoo Clock refines didactic portal fantasy for children.
- 1878 Max Adeler’s “Mr Skinner’s Night in the Underworld” adds an
American irreverence to humorous fantasy.
- 1880 Vernon Lee’s “Faustus and Helena” sets out a new theory of the
functions of the supernatural in literature.
- 1882 F. Anstey’s Vice Versa employs humorous fantasy to expose the follies and impostures of Victorian attitudes. Gilbert and Sullivan’s light
opera Iolanthe arranges a cultural exchange between the fairy court and the
House of Lords. Wagner’s heavy opera “Parsifal” completes the set of his
- 1883 Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio explains the difficulties involved in becoming human.
- 1884 Oscar Wilde’s “The Sphinx” takes a tour of the cosmos of the contemporary imagination.
- 1886 Rider Haggard’s She takes the lost race story into new fantastic territory. Marie Corelli’s A Romance of Two Worlds pretends to revitalize religious fantasy while luxuriating in wish fulfillment.
- 1887 Oscar Wilde’s account of “The Canterville Ghost” sophisticates the
humorous ghost story.
- 1888 Richard Garnett’s The Twilight of the Gods displays the scope of
contes philosophiques dressed with a sharp satirical wit and a blithely
decadent style. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde adds a new dimension to moralistic fantasy. A. E. Waite’s Elfin
Music summarizes the tradition of English fairy poetry.
- 1889 Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court breaks
new ground in didactic timeslip fantasy.
- 1890 James Frazer publishes the first version of The Golden Bough, supplying a mythical account of the evolution of magic and religion destined
to inform countless historical fantasies. Anatole France’s Thaïs brings the
ideals of Christianity and Epicureanism into sharp conflict. Andrew Lang’s
Blue Fairy Book launches an encyclopedia of the sources of modern children’s fantasy. William Morris’s The Story of the Glittering Plain brings
the Hollow Land up to date.
- 1891 George du Maurier’s Peter Ibbetson celebrates the power of
dreams to activate wish fulfillment. Oscar Wilde exemplifies the thesis of
“The Decay of Lying” by publishing The House of Pomegranates and The
Picture of Dorian Gray.
- 1892 “Amour Dure” and “Dionea,” in Vernon Lee’s Hauntings, set new
standards in decadent erotic fantasy.
- 1893 W. B. Yeats’s The Celtic Twilight celebrates the mystical survival,
in spirit, of the Irish Arcadia.
- 1894 Fiona MacLeod’s The Sin Eater and Other Tales and Episodes argues that Scotland was also part of Britain’s Arcadia, although William
Morris removes it to The Wood beyond the World. Rudyard Kipling’s The
Jungle Book brings animal fantasy to a new pitch of sophistication.
- 1895 H. G. Wells’s The Wonderful Visit employs an angel as a critical observer of Victorian folkways. John Kendrick Bangs’s A Houseboat on the
Styx credits Dante’s Inferno with New York’s urbanity. Marie Corelli’s The
Sorrows of Satan sympathizes with the Devil’s aristocratic ennui.
- 1896 M. P. Shiel’s Shapes in the Fire and Laurence Housman’s AllFellows deploy decadent style in very different ways. Gerhardt Hauptmann’s
The Sunken Bell struggles heroically with the problems of staging fantasy.
- 1897 Bram Stoker’s Dracula invents a monster of unparalleled seductiveness.
- 1898 Aleister Crowley joins the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn,
bringing a dash of Rabelais to the world of English lifestyle fantasy. H. G.
Wells’s “The Man Who Could Work Miracles” offers a definitive analysis
of the tragedy of wish fulfillment.
- 1899 Charles Godfrey Leland’s Aradia mixes Michelet and Frazer into a
heady new cocktail for scholarly and lifestyle fantasists.
-Stableford, Brian. The A to Z of Fantasy Literature. (Scarecrow Press, 1989)