From Ann and Jeff VanderMeer-esteemed editors of The Big Book of Science Fiction and scholars of the fantastic-comes a globe-spanning anthology that unearths the origins of fantasy fiction. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL. From the fairy tales we first heard as children, fantasy stories have always been with us. They illuminate the odd and the uncanny, the wondrous and the fantastic: all the things we know are lurking just out of sight-on the other side of the looking-glass, beyond the music of the impossibly haunting violin, through the dark trees of the forest. Other worlds, talking animals, fairies, goblins, demons, tricksters, and mystics: these are the elements that populate a rich literary tradition that spans the globe. In this collection, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer explore the stories that shaped our modern idea of "fantasy." There are the expected pillars of the genre: the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Mary Shelley, Christina Rossetti, Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, L. Frank Baum, Robert E. Howard, and J. R. R. Tolkien. But it's the unexpected treasures from Asian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and Native American traditions-including fourteen stories never before available in English-that show that the urge to imagine surreal circumstances, bizarre creatures, and strange new worlds is truly a universal phenomenon. A work composed both of careful scholarship and fantastic fun, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy is essential reading for anyone who's never forgotten the stories that first inspired feelings of astonishment and wonder.