What is the difference between fantasy and myth?     I'm using Campbell as a guide for the elements of myth. Are there any definitive sources for the elements of fantasy?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Campbell has very well gathered the basic ingredients of the manifestations of myth, the elaborate building of explanations or illustrations of powers beyond the realistic—that is, highly deified actions of natural forces, a product of many cultures as they try to “explain” natural forces.  Fantasy, however, is more amorphous than myth–it is simply wherever the human mind can go inside its own universe—such stories as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wondeland, Harry Potter, etc.—any construction that the human mind can imagine and flesh out with details, following rules of its own.  Is there a central gathering place for the studying of these fantasies?  Not that I know of, short of collections of fairy tales such as Grimm’s.  There is a good project for the next generation of literary scholars—listing and categorizing the elements that make up all fantasies—the building blocks of fantasies. Fantasies are often paired with science fiction, which is the extension of scientific progress into the future--robotics, space travel, and the like. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial