Inspired by the World of Oz in the 1930s, Science Fiction worlds in the 1940s, and Tolkien's Middle Earth in the 1950s, Douglass Parker started a library of references on imaginary worlds (aka fantasy worlds or fantasy lands).
These worlds are intriguing, and difficult to characterize. One common feature is the use of journey stories, which track a sequence of challenges facing characters on a quest or journey through the world. Another very popular feature is the world map -- an outline of journeys to unfold.
Parker wanted to understand the design of these worlds. Over his life, for six decades, he tracked down books in related disciplines. Eventually the core of this library reached 2000 books, some quite hard to find, and these came to define a field of knowledge that he called parageography (`beyond geography').
The idea of parageography is to go beyond the world map (geography), and get at the world design. It can be thought of as `conceptual geography', getting at aspects of world design. The library gives a picture of how imaginary worlds have been built for thousands of years. So it is a library of resources about worldbuilding.
The parageography library consists mainly of reference works from the past 50 years. This book is a catalog of nonfiction books, divided into chapters by topic. Some topics reflect historical periods, and others reflect elements of `stagecraft' -- viewing a world as a kind of stage. Currently there are over 30 topics; the topics overlap, so some book descriptions appear in multiple sections. For each book there is a short synopsis (text summary), and links that query about 25 web resources to look for related information (like maps, or videos, or artwork).
This PDF eBook looks at the 2000-book core Parageography Library from two perspectives: Stagecraft and History. Each is divided into about 15 topics, giving a detailed bibliography The entire book is about 800 pages long, with four parts:
2. Stagecraft (Cast, Story, Stage)
3. Time Periods (Mythical, Medieval, ...)
4. Indexes of Books in the Library
The PDF gives a way to browse the library. Each book description includes a text synopsis and 25 hyperlinks (which use the synopsis to query resource sites on the web). Altogether, there are more than 50,000 links -- and they can be used as a web index.
Attribution License: this PDF eBook is freely-downloadable with CC-BY license (free copying, distribution, display of the work & making derivative works provided you credit this work). It's enough to cite as: Douglass Parker, Parageography Worldbuilding Library, 2019 (douglassparker.org).
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