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Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday

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Fantastic Tales: Visionary and Everyday

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Author: Italo Calvino
Publisher: Pantheon Books, 1997

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Book Type: Anthology
Genre: Fantasy
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Scott Laz


Compiled by Italo Calvino, one of the essential writers of the twentieth century (and editor of the best-selling Italian Folktales), Fantastic Tales is a rich and wide-ranging collection of twenty-six classic, uncanny tales from the nineteenth century written by an intriguing panoply of European and American authors. Master storyteller himself, Calvino has contributed an informative introduction to the collection, and an engaging précis to each story.

As Calvino writes in Fantastic Tales, which traces the genre from its roots in German Romanticism to the ghost stories of Henry James: "The fantastic tale is one of the most characteristic products of nineteenth-century narrative. For us, it is also one of the most significant.... As it relates to our sensibility today, the supernatural element at the heart of these stories always appears freighted with meaning, like the revolt of the unconscious, the repressed, the forgotten.... In this we see the modern dimension of the fantastic, the reason for its triumphant resurgence in our times."

Fantastic Tales is a fantastically canonical anthology assembled by an editor who, in the words of Salman Rushdie, "possesses the power of seeing into the deepest recesses of human minds and then bringing their dreams back to life."

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