Full record for secondary world n.

Definition the setting of a work of fantasy where the setting is different from the real world but is internally consistent
OED requirements antedating 1947
Earliest cite J.R.R. Tolkien, 'On Fairy-Stories'
Comment Greer Watson submitted a cite from a 1992 reprint of J.R.R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories"; Thomas M. M. Gordon verified it in the 1947 first publication in "Essays Presented to Charles Williams".

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Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for secondary world n.

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1947 J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-Stories in Ess. Presented to C. Williams 60 What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful 'sub-creator'. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is 'true' : it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken ; the magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive secondary World from outside.
1964 J. R. R. Tolkien Tree & Leaf (1992) 36 What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful `sub-creator'. He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is `true': it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside.
1964 J. R. R. Tolkien Tree & Leaf (1992) 37 The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken. The magic, or rather art, has failed. You are then out in the Primary World again, looking at the little abortive Secondary World from outside.
1964 J. R. R. Tolkien Tree & Leaf (1992) 46 To make a Secondary World inside which the green sun will be credible, commanding Secondary Belief, will probably require labour and thought, and will certainly demand a special skill, an elvish craft.