From Two-Worldliness to Allotopia: Towards Philosophico-Literary Approach to World-Building Narratives
Maj, Krzysztof M.
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In this chapter, inspired by Bernhard Waldenfels’ phenomenology of the Other and its ‘xenotopographic’ interpretation, it is examined whether a typical – for fantasy and SF genres – two-world or ‘portal-quest’ model (empirical world → symbolical gate → counterempirical world) is not nowadays replaced with the pre-established, immersive, and purely imaginative storyworld (purum figmentum). Consequently, it is stated that philosophical premises of such world-building and a representative for it genre of allotopia are altogether contributing to a significant shift between 20th and 21st century fiction that manifests in the tendency to create the storyworld prior to the storyline – as a ‘matrix for possible narratives’. Finally, it is claimed that this type of prose particularly invites modelling heterotopian frontiers within the allotopian storyworld – but no more entangles itself in the paradigm of ‘realist imperialism’ by supporting easy, though gravely colonial, juxtapositions of empirical, real, factual and counterempirical, unreal, or counterfactual worlds.
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