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The Imaginary and the Actual: Possible Worlds and Fictional Worlds

This course will consider a number of narratives from different periods with a focus on 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. To analyze literature in terms of fictional worlds implies a different approach than the conventional one characterized by close reading and interpretation. It leads to different questions: instead of asking, what does this novel mean? we will ask, what kind of world is built by this text? That sort of questioning will force us to consider what we mean by a “world” in the first place. 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 worlds; fictionality; referentiality; spatiality; utopia/dystopia, novum

Further course information will appear soon on this page. Until then, information can be found on the department website.

Information on registration spring 2022


If you are admitted and have accepted an offer of a place, please note that you also need to register in January. Registration is mandatory and will be open in Ladok for admitted students between 3 - 9 January. You need to register on time to confirm and keep your place.

Registration is done online. Once you have an activated university account, you can register online through Ladok if you are accepted to the course without conditions.

Ladok for students

If you are conditionally admitted, the conditions have to be fulfilled in order to register and start the course. Contact our Student Affairs Office in January when registration opens, if you have questions.


After registration or before the course starts, you will get access to Stockholm university's web-based learning platform Athena where course material from teachers will be made available. You use log-in details on Athena as for your university account.


  • Course structure

    Course description: Possible Worlds and Fictional Worlds, VT22 (pdf) (259 Kb)

    Teaching format

    The teaching comprises seminars. Active participation is expected from students in all teaching formats in order to pass the examination. Students will often work with different tasks and assignments during the seminars in preparation for the examination. Apart from scheduled teaching, time will be spent reading course literature and completing mandatory assignments.


    Written essays.


    Bo G. Ekelund

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.

    For the spring term 2022, we are planning for teaching on Campus. However, given the current situation with the pandemic, recommendations may change at short notice. It is therefore important to check the course site regularly for updates ahead of next term.

  • Course reports

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