Mythic fiction is literature that draws from the tropes, themes, and symbolism of myth, legend, folklore, and fairy tales. It is usually set in the real world and deals with realistic issues, but a mythic atmosphere prevails; however, not all mythic fiction is fantasy, and the fantastic component is not always blatant. Mythic fiction ranges from retellings of fairy tales to stories based on myths to those loosely inspired by myth and legend, using their motifs to create new stories.[1][2]

The term was invented by Charles de Lint and Terri Windling to describe their own work;[1] de Lint has said that it fit because of its resonances and because it could reach a wider audience.[3] Windling promoted mythic fiction as the co-editor (with Ellen Datlow) of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror volumes for sixteen years, and as the editor of the Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts.

Mythic fiction overlaps with urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but mythic fiction also includes contemporary works in non-urban settings. Mythic fiction also differs from magic realism, as magic realist texts may use surreal or random symbolism in preference to symbolism drawing on myth and legend.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bartel, Julie (2005). "Mythic Fiction". In Cullinan, Bernice E.; Kunzel, Bonnie; Wooten, Deborah (eds.). The Continuum Encyclopedia of Young Adult Literature. Bloomsbury.
  2. ^ "A Mythic Fiction Reading List". Endicott Studio. Retrieved 19 August 2023.
  3. ^ Brignall, Richard B. "Charles de Lint: Mythic Fiction". Locus Online. Retrieved 19 August 2023.