Authored by: Mark J. P. Wolf

The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638914
eBook ISBN: 9781315637525
Adobe ISBN:


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Imaginary worlds allow authors to tell stories that require everything in those worlds to rely on individual characters and events for their well-being, or even their continued existence, to an extent that one rarely sees in the Primary World in which we live. This is expressed colloquially as “saving the world,” a way of raising the stakes (which hinge on the success or failure of a story’s main character or characters) as high as they can be raised, for maximum dramatic impact and suspense. The urtext for such stories is, of course, the Christian Bible, which tells of Jesus Christ, the prophesied and long-awaited Savior and Messiah. While these stories follow the structure of the Biblical story to varying degrees—occasionally even allegorically, as with Lewis’s Aslan, who is very blatantly positioned as the Christ-like savior of Narnia—the “saving of the world” that occurs in most worlds tends to be less spiritual and more of the materialistic and militaristic kind, and centuries of stories have also added many new tropes to the tradition.

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