Etymology

English: mytho-: myth

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English: cosmo-: universe/world

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English: -graphy: representation of any specific subject

Definition

The representation of a fictional world or universe through written or illustrated works.

Example

In order for T. R. R. Jolkien to write a believable fantasy series, he would need to develop a mythocosmography alongside his writing project.

Middle Earth is the mythocosmography of the “Lord of the Rings” series.

Equivalent

world-building

Commentary

Basically, this neologism is a more academic version of the word world-building. Not only that, but that word seems more suiting for referring to a state of development, rather than the development itself. In propositioning for this neologism,  mythocosmography would be used in place of  world-building project or any other variants to make it sound more well-grounded in a singular word.

I included the myth part because when looking at works of Tolkien and other fantasy writers like Lord Dunsany, they do involve what would constitute a myth, such as heroes, gods, monsters, and mystical races. The cosmo- is used in the same way that it is used in cosmopolitan or cosmology.

There is a word, cosmographer, which originally described a person who describes the world, but in the modern context is used in astrophysics to refer to a scientist who studies the universe. I would prefer using the classical context, because world-building need not necessarily involve astrophysics. The -graphy is used in the same vein as cartography, but instead of simply describing a map, mythocosmography can also refer to describing the components and history of that fictional map.

The word that would come the closest to mythocosmography would be mythopoeia, which refers to the creation of a myth. Although it has been used to describe fantasy writers’ works, it is used to refer more to the artificial mythologies, rather than the worlds in which those mythologies take place.

Although I would normally reserve the topics of fantasy and world-building in my other blog, it seemed suitable enough for this blog because this article deals more with rhetoric and word choice rather than the contents of the word itself.

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