Ursula K. LeGuin on the false distinction between fantasy and literature.

“Now, it seems, there is an orthodoxy: Fantasy for younger readers must have no toxic taint of psychological depth or moral subtlety, and be driven forward mechanically by plot, not by the natures and passions of their young protagonists. The story must allow of only one interpretation: Good Fights Evil and Wins the War, thus remaining ethically simplistic to the point of infantility. YA fantasies cannot use metaphor. Fish cannot swim in water. No, sorry, that is from another edict. YA readers expect fantasies to contain nothing they have not already read in other fantasies. We the Publisher know what the readers expect. We are God? No, but we know what we’re going to give them, and they needn’t expect anything else. Well, so, there’s a separation of “genre” from “literature,” performed with a Texas chainsaw.”

-From the essay Petty Expectations by Ursula K. LeGuin. Click here to read the rest.


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