An insightful post reflecting on Tolkien’s definition of “escapism.”

Wandering Paths

es·cap·ism

the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc.

(dictionary.com)

Above is probably the most common conception about escapism.  It is often used in the strongest criticism against fantasy.  However, when you think about it, and really study the definition, escapism applies to all realms of literature.  In nonfiction the read escapes to another reality of the past or of another person.  In fiction, to a fictitious place or series of events to meet a fictitious cast of characters.  When you think about it, all art, of any kind or medium, can be considered escapist.  In any entertaining or artistic endeavor, the participant leaves the reality of his or her time, place or experience.  But not wholely so.

I would argue that escapism is not an avoidance of reality, though it may appear so on the surface, but fleeing towards reality. …

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