This course will consider the relations between the fictional and the actual, what exists and what may exist, with the help of theories of possible worlds and of fictionality. The recent scholarly turn towards world literature has been accompanied by an interest in the worlds made by literature and the relations between such worlds and the actual world-system that provide their conditions of possibility. We will read a number of literary works whose distinctive fictional worlds claim a reality at least in our ability to imagine what is not the case.

Central concepts: Possible/fictional worlds; fictionality; referentiality; immersion and recentering; spatiality; utopia/dystopia.

Teacher: Bo G Ekelund

Given in period 2

Syllabus and application

Schedule, spring 2018

Primary works

Beowulf (in Seamus Heaney’s translation, available in many anthologies or as a paperback). We will focus on the first part, lines 1-1250.

J. M. Coetzee, Foe. Penguin (ISBN: 9780241950111)

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. Penguin Classics (ISBN: 9780141439822)

Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle. Penguin (ISBN: 9780141186672)

John Gardner, Grendel. Vintage (ISBN: 9780679723110)

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. Random House (ISBN: 9780375507250)

Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman Dalkey (ISBN: 9781564782144)

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (ISBN: 9780441478125)

Virginia Woolf, The Complete Shorter Fiction of Virginia Woolf. Mariner (ISBN: 9780156212502)

Additional / secondary material will be assigned (see attached course information for details)