Since Plato and Aristotle's declaration of the essence of literature as imitation, western narrative has been traditionally discussed in mimetic terms. Marginalized fantasy- the deliberate from reality - has become the hidden face of fiction, identified by most critics as a minor genre. First published in 1984, this book rejects generic definitions of fantasy, arguing that it is not a separate or even separable strain in literary practice, but rather an impulse as significant as that of mimesis. Together, fantasy and mimesis are the twin impulses behind literary creation. In an analysis that ranges from the Icelandic sagas to science fiction, from Malory to pulp romance, Kathryn Hume systematically examines the various ways in which fantasy and mimesis contribute to literary representations of reality. A detailed and comprehensive title, this reissue will be of particular value to undergraduate literature students with an interest in literary genres and the centrality of literature to the creative imagination.