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Comparing the LiteraturesLiterary Studies in a Global Age$
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David Damrosch

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134994

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134994.001.0001

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(p.253) 7 Worlds
Comparing the Literatures

David Damrosch

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the worldly presence of literary works and considers how they relate to the world around them through the worlds they create. It explores the dimensions of the imaginative world that are built up by a novel, staged by a playwright, or envisioned by a poet. It also investigates the boundaries, environment, history, sociology or ethnography, economic and class determinants, and gender relations of the imaginative world. The chapter looks into “Fictional Worlds” by Thomas Pavel, which discusses the variable “referential density” that a work can have, and the relative wealth or paucity of information given per page, scene, or stanza about the world envisioned by the work. It emphasizes on “amplitude” and “completeness” in order to describe the coordinates and building blocks with which a writer creates a virtual literary world.

Keywords:   literary works, imaginative world, referential density, amplitude, completeness, virtual literary world

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