A Possible-worlds Approach to Harry Potter

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Wesam M. A. Ibrahim


This paper investigates the ways in which possible-worlds theory account for the text world phenomena of the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter books are considered the prototype of the crossover genre and also as the main force behind the rise of the crossover genre as a marketing trend (Becket, 2009; Falconer, 2009). Possible-worlds theory is a well-established approach to fictional worlds from literary theory and narratology. The theory can account for a number of phenomena including, for example, the relationship of the fictional world with the world we call ‘actual’, the introduction of different kinds of impossibilities into the fictional world, the study of character’s private worlds, the tellability of a fictional world which can be the reason behind its appeal to a wider readership, and potentially its commercial success, the relationship or potential linkage between different fictional worlds which can be manifested through instances of intertextuality or allusion, and so on. In this paper, Two books were selected from the series, namely, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for their special status regarding adult readership and awards. I particularly focus on the tellability of the fictional world which results from the presence of interesting narrative points and conflict within its rich virtual domain.


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Author Biography

Wesam M. A. Ibrahim

Wesam M A Ibrahim is a lecturer of Linguistics in the Department of English Language, Faculty of Education, Tanta University, Egypt. She has a Bachelor of Education (1996), a Bachelor of Arts (1998), an MA in Linguistics (2003), and a PhD in Linguistics (Lancaster University, United Kingdom, 2010). She is currently a Visiting Research Associate at the Centre of Corpus Approaches to Social Sciences (CASS), Lancaster University, UK. Her research interests include: Stylistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Metaphor Studies, Gender Studies, and Corpus Linguistics.


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