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quotations about fantasy

I think that the fantasies will always be part of being human, because we're none of us exactly what others want us to be -- and nor are they perfectly what we want, either.... It's when that line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred that there are problems.

JEANNETTE ANGELL, "A talk with author Jeannette Angell: From college lecturer to callgirl and back", Souixland, Oct. 8, 2004

Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.

J. R. R. TOLKIEN, On Fairy-Stories

Now that I had actually made love, more astonishingly now that I had been made love to, the fantasies were subtly undermined.


The problem with fantasy is the greatest benefit of fantasy: it prevents us from living in the present moment.

GENEEN ROTH, When Food Is Love: Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy

What a thing of fantasy a woman may become after dusk.

HONORE DE BALZAC, Ferragus, chef des Dévorants

Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time. In this new dimension, whatever it is, nothing corrodes or gets run down at the heel or gets to look ridiculous like, say, the celluloid collar or the bustle.

WALT DISNEY, attributed, "The Rides of Passage," Via magazine, July 2005

The power in any society is with those who get to impose the fantasy. It is no longer, as it was for centuries throughout Europe, the church that imposes its fantasy on the populace, nor is it the totalitarian superstate that imposes the fantasy, as it did for 12 years in Nazi Germany and for 69 years in the Soviet Union. Now the fantasy that prevails is the all-consuming, voraciously consumed popular culture, seemingly spawned by, of all things, freedom. The young especially live according to beliefs that are thought up for them by the society’s most unthinking people and by the businesses least impeded by innocent ends. Ingeniously as their parents and teachers may attempt to protect the young from being drawn, to their detriment, into the moronic amusement park that is now universal, the preponderance of the power is not with them.

PHILIP ROTH, "My Life as a Writer," New York Times, Mar. 2, 2014

People are distracted by objects of desire, and afterwards repent of the lust they've indulged, because they have indulged with a phantom and are left even farther from Reality than before. Your desire for the illusory is a wing, by means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality. When you have indulged a lust, your wing drops off; you become lame and that fantasy flees.

JALALUDDIN RUMI, quoted in The Pocket Rumi Reader

A love affair begins with a fantasy. For instance, that the beloved will always be there.

AMY HEMPEL, "The Dog of the Marriage"

Every idea appears at first as a strange visitor, and when it begins to be realized, it is hardly distinguishable from fantasy.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.


The whole fauna of human fantasies, their marine vegetation, drifts and luxuriates in the dimly lit zones of human activity, as though plaiting thick tresses of darkness. Here, too, appear the lighthouses of the mind, with their outward resemblance to less pure symbols. The gateway to mystery swings open at the touch of human weakness and we have entered the realms of darkness. One false step, one slurred syllable together reveal a man's thoughts.

LOUIS ARAGON, Paris Peasant

You always start with a fantasy. Part of the fantasy technique is to visualize something as perfect. Then with the experiments you work back from the fantasy to reality, hacking away at the components.

EDWIN H. LAND, attributed, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, March 2002

For fantasy is true, of course. It isn't factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom.

URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

No matter through what realms of the fantastic you may travel, you arrive inevitably at the commonplace.

WILLIAM JOHN LOCKE, The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne

To make love to a fantasy was the second betrayal of a libertine.

DOUGLAS CARLTON ABRAMS, The Lost Diary of Don Juan

My conception of phantasy, as a genuine art-form, is an extension rather than a negation of reality. Ordinary tales about a castle ghost or old-fashioned werewolf are merely so much junk. The true function of phantasy is to give the imagination a ground for limitless expansion, and to satisfy aesthetically the sincere and burning curiosity and sense of awe which a sensitive minority of mankind feel toward the alluring and provocative abysses of unplumbed space and unguessed entity which press in upon the known world from unknown infinities and in unknown relationships of time, space, matter, force, dimensionality, and consciousness. This curiosity and sense of awe, I believe, are quite basic among the sensitive minority in question; and I see no reason to think that they will decline in the future--for as you point out, the frontier of the unknown can never do more than scratch the surface of eternally unknowable infinity.

H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to Clark Ashton Smith, October 17, 1930

All you ever were was a little bit of the universe, thinking to itself. Very specific; this bit, here, right now. All the rest was fantasy.

IAIN M. BANKS, Surface Detail


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