Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Hartwell, David G

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(1941-2016) US editor, critic and anthologist who has for most of his career been primarily associated with sf; in recent years he has also produced several anthologies of importance to fantasy. The most important is almost certainly The Dark Descent (anth 1987; vt in 3 vols as The Dark Descent #1: The Colour of Evil 1990 UK, #2: The Medusa in the Shield 1991 UK and #3: A Fabulous, Formless Darkness 1991 UK), which concentrates on Horror. In his introduction, DGH divides horror into three categories: (a) the moral/allegorical, usually involving an intrusion of Evil into consensus reality; (b) "stories of aberrant human psychology embodied metaphorically", usually in the form of a Monster; and (c) the fantastic, in which Reality is treated as essentially ambiguous, potentially absurd. The third category is clearly the most relevant to the concerns of this encyclopedia, for which DGH is a Consultant Editor.

Other titles of fantasy interest include a sequence of Christmas anthologies: Christmas Ghosts (anth 1987) with Kathryn Cramer (1962-    ), Spirits of Christmas (anth 1989), Christmas Stars (anth 1992), Christmas Forever: All New Tales of Yuletide Wonder (anth 1993) and Christmas Magic (anth 1994). The two Masterpieces titles – Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment (anth 1988) and Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder (anth 1989), the latter again with Cramer – are enjoyable and learned. The Screaming Skull and Othe Great American Ghost Stories (anth dated 1994 but 1995) is also of interest. [JC]

David Geddes Hartwell


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.