Realism and Fantasy
In Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality, Jules Zanger puts forward the argument that “Realism and naturalism are defined by those elements of the real world they retain; fantasy, on the other hand, is defined by those aspects of reality it denies, by representations that are not merely improbable or untrue… but patently false.” I disagree and conclude fantasy is as much defined by aspects of reality it has neglected. Zanger continues: “The base line of reality, therefore, is always implicit in even the most errant fantasy, and in the tension between these solid, familiar unalterable givens of experience and the particular denials of the that constitute the fiction is generates the special delight that fantasy affords us.”
I’m in no doubt fantasy affords special delight, however it has greatest impact when parallels can be drawn between reality and fantasy. For example The Tree Lady by H.Joseph Hopkins is a delightful book devoted to the story of how San Diego was transformed in much the same way as Stephano Boeri is proposing in Vertical ForrestING. The Tree Lady is a fictional piece, based loosely on the story of activist Kate Sessions, whereas Boeri’s is not, however they exist with parallel ideas. As Roger C.Schlobin states: “The fantasy illustrator takes the pictorial conventions of realistic portrayal and then manipulates and inverts them to create marvellous worlds for which there can be no earthly analogy.”
Sanger, J (1982) Heroic Fantasy and Social Reality The Aesthetics of Fantasy Literature and Art, edited by Roger C. Schlobin, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.
Hopkins, H.J. (2013) The Tree Lady. New York: Beech Lane Books.
Images ©The Tree Lady