Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative and the Age of Visual Culture, Vols. I-IV

Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative and the Age of Visual Culture, Vols. I-IV

by L.A. Alexander

Paperback(New Edition)

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"Create Your Own World!" is a motto of visionary artists. We all enjoy escaping into, and journeying within, fictional realms. Some aspire to create their own unique artistic worlds. Fictional Worlds, intended for all readers who love literature and film, and especially for writers, filmmakers, and videogame designers, points at new ways of navigating, exploring, and creating entrancing fictional universes. This book's promise is to make its readers more confident fictional world travelers and compelling storytellers. A holistic and evolutionary study of narrative from ancient rituals, myths and fairytales to the current day, this book blends a creative and intellectual approach to writing. The themes of journey, the wonderworld, quest for knowledge, symbolic death-rebirth, conflict resolution, family, and community are at the core of this inquiry into the nature of narrative, its politics and poetics. Teaching nuts and bolts of writing fiction, this book connects the "cultural" dots in the trajectory of the dramatic arc, elucidating the power of storytelling. With Odysseus as a guide, Fictional Worlds is a journey through the landscape of narrative traditions, emerging practices and artistic debates. The four books of this volume explore key genres such as action-adventure, drama, mystery, and comedy.

"This brilliant book is far more than a screenwriting manual. Ranging across the globe and throughout history we have here a dazzling survey of the intellectual foundations and possibilities of the cinema. This is must-reading for anyone who is interested in how and, more importantly, why we tell stories on screen." -- David Desser, author of Eros plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema; co-author of American Jewish Filmmakers

"A new theory of narrative, which I find both convincing and uplifting. Illuminating and useful anthropological theory of genres. Terrific choice of examples, as well as the analysis. 'Dos and Don'ts: Creative Solutions for the Formulaic Plot' will be immensely helpful to practitioners.... Among interesting ideas: the murder mystery-as tragedy in reverse! And the role of film noir... And 'Ulysses as a Peter Pan for grownups'!! - I love it!" -- Linda Hutcheon, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, author of A Poetics of Postmodernism, The Politics of Postmodernism, and A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms

"An innovative approach to teaching screenwriting, based in original scholarship of real importance. The book's ideas are of impressive originality and practicality, and expounded with exemplary clarity. Dr. Alexander does a splendid job making a case for the new and more productive understanding of genre. The book features an elegant commentary on the distinction between film as ritual and ceremony. There is much to recommend this fine volume, the writing is generally elegant. The chapter on mystery is so brilliant that it alone would make this book worthy of a semester's study." -- R. Bruce Elder, filmmaker; author of Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-Garde Art Movements, and DADA, Surrealism and the Cinematic Effect

"There's much I admire about Fictional Worlds, starting with the core project of bridging between narrative theory, anthropological perspectives on myth and ritual, and work in screen studies. I have never seen the books addressing Joseph Campbell's 'Hero's Journey' with relation to screenwriting in the exhaustive detail and with the nuance that Alexander deploys here, and with such a rich array of examples. What I admire is Alexander's insistence on historical and cultural specificity, even while tracing connections in the kinds of stories that have emerged across times and cultures." -- Henry Jenkins, Professor, University of Southern California; author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492719953
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 10/07/2013
Series: Storytelling on Screen
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 428
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

L.A. Alexander, Ph.D., a recipient of academic fellowships and awards, has been teaching screenwriting, film, literature, folklore, media, and communication for fifteen years; including for the last ten years at New York University and City University of New York. The author's diverse experiences envelope traveling and studying narrative cultures in many countries; learning directing, and writing for the media; as well as conducting research in the fields of symbolic anthropology and international media. The print version of this book was commissioned by an academic publisher, peer-reviewed, and accepted for publication. Shortly thereafter, due to the unforeseen and rapidly changing circumstances in the publishing industry, the publisher and author decided to amicably part ways. The current print edition was followed by the digital edition as a four-part set of Kindle ebooks. The volume on the practices and theories of fictional worlds is intended for writers, both experienced and aspiring, and for scholars, educators, and students. This tome is designed to be easy to read and useful to creative artists by enhancing their expertise and skills. It is hoped to prove fruitful to scholars - encouraging discussions on such fundamental categories as narrative and genre; as well as to educators - as a textbook for advanced studies in the types of courses that explore literature and film, world cinema, narrative and genre, creative writing, media and society, and general humanities.

In April 2014 one of the world's top academic websites, visited by people from many countries,, posted the discussion of the book "Fictional Worlds" and a six-part interview series with its author, titled by Henry Jenkins, the Provost's Professor at USC, "Why Do Humans Tell the Stories They Do":

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