The story of fantasy in relation to children’s literature is one of forceful contradictions: it is criticized for being fraudulent, irrational, frightening, and overly imaginative; for being formulaic, escapist, and not imaginative enough; for being suitable only for children and for being suitable only for adults. The seeds of this energetic debate take us into the very source of story making: imagination and reason.

The origin of the word fantasy lies in the Greek φαυτασια (phantasia), “a making visible” or “to show.” It begins its career in written English as both fantasy and fancy (derived from spellings fantsyfansyfancie). Its early primary meanings refer to a faculty of mind: “mental apprehension of an object of perception; the faculty by which this is performed” or “the image impressed on the mind by an object of sense.” A primary sense of fantasy in the early modern

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