X is for Xanaduism

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Xanaduism is a quest for the story behind the story.

Ever wonder how Piers Anthony came up with Xanth or wondered about Huxley’s Brave New World?

Xanaduism is a variety of academic or literary research attempting to find sources behind work of imagination. Named after a noted study by John Livingstone Lomes’ 1927 “Road to Xanadu,” Xanaduism in this work explores Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan.”

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree…”

What inspired Sir James Barry to quest for Peter Pan in Neverland? A 2004 movie starring Johnnie Depp looks into the matter. When Alice made her way through the Looking Glass, who was Lewis Carroll’s diminutive muse? Melanie Benjamin wrote something from the perspective of the historic Alice Liddell.

A xanaduist quests for the inspirations behind the literary works. It is more centered on the literary work than the artist, so a work of xanaduism differs from a biography which explores the artist himself.

In a more contemporary sense, Xanaduism describes scholarship of difficult-to-prove sources.X