Full record for primary world n.

Definition the real world, as opposed to the secondary world of a work of fiction
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".

We would like cites of any date from other authors.

Last modified 6 July, 2008

Citations for primary world n.

click here for more information about the citation list

1947 J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-Stories in Ess. Presented to C. Williams 60 It seems fairly clear that Lang was using belief in its ordinary sense : belief that a thing exists or can happen in the real (primary) world.
1947 J.R.R. Tolkien On Fairy-Stories in Ess. Presented to C. Williams 67 I propose, therefore, to arrogate to myself the powers of Humpty-Dumpty, and to use Fantasy for this purpose : in a sense, that is, which combines with its older and higher use as an equivalent of Imagination the derived notions of 'unreality' (that is, of unlikeness to the Primary World), of freedom from the domination of observed 'fact', in short of the fantastic.
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) 45 Fantasy, of course, starts out with an advantage: arresting strangeness. But that advantage has been turned against it, and has contributed to its disrepute. Many people dislike being `arrested'. They dislike any meddling with the Primary World, or such small glimpses of it as are familiar to them.
1964 J. R. R. Tolkien Tree & Leaf (1992) 46 Fantasy may be, as I think, not less but more sub-creative; but at any rate it is found in practice that `the inner consistency of reality' is more difficult to produce, the more unlike are the images and the rearrangements of primary material to the actual arrangements of the Primary World.