The other day somebody — in fact, an extremely eminent and excellent fantasy writer whose name I’m dying to drop but won’t (but in effect I just did anyway) — asked me for my favorite quote about fantasy. This request plunged me down a rabbit-hole of Googling and rereading and trying to remember something, anything really, that I read about fantasy in college.
In the end these three quotes were my finalists:
1. C.S. Lewis, from his essay on The Lord of the Rings:
‘But why,’ (some ask), ‘why, if you have a serious comment to make on the real life of men, must you do it by talking about a phantasmagoric never-never land of your own?’ Because, I take it, one of the main things the author wants to say is that the real life of men is of that mythical and heroic quality…And man as a whole, Man pitted against the universe, have we seen him at all till we see that he is like a hero in a fairy tale?
2. Iris Murdoch — this is attributed to Murdoch, and sounds like her, but I can’t find the source for this quote, which floats around the Internet a lot, so it may apocryphal. But I love it, so here it is:
We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.
3. Ursula K. Le Guin, from The Wave in the Mind:
People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
That’s what I came up with. Tell me: what did I miss?