Can fantasy novels be taken as seriously as regular fiction?
I have enjoyed writing as a hobby for pretty much my entire life, and lately I have been working on a new writing project with an imaginary world based on a lot of fantasy-oriented books, movies and video games I’ve read/watched/played. But as I write, I’ve grown tentative about adding the fantasy element, for fear that people won’t take it seriously.
I suppose it depends on the culture, but as far as the way I grew up, fantasy has always been considered juvenile literature. Seldom to I hear of fantasy novels (in the traditional sense of the world, like The Lord of the Rings) being elevated to the status of “high” or “classic” fiction, such as Dickens and Twain. Similarly, those who enjoy reading fantasy seem often to be labelled as nerds.
Yes, there are plenty of amazing works of fiction that have fantastical elements, like The Time Traveller’s Wife and works by Toni Morrison, but books that are more “fantasy” than “reality” tend to get lumped in with the juvenile fiction.
For example, my mother and I read the book The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. I quite enjoyed the book, but my mother said it would have been better if it was more “realistic,” without all the magic and witchcraft. It was still a best-seller, but not quite on the same scale as more typical, realistic fiction.
So, what do you guys think? Can fantasy ever be put at the same level as regular fiction, to the point where they would teach books like the LotR series in schools? On that note, did any of you studied fantasy literature in high school, or was it all Shakespeare and Dickens?