A mythology of our own
: fanwork as mythopoesis

  • Marialaura Grandolfo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


The word ‘myth’ carries both negative and restrictive connotations. In common understanding, a pervasive falsehood, to be debunked in the name of rationality and progress, is often labelled as a myth; in academic discourse, especially within the field of literary studies, myths are ancient stories, often involving godly or otherwise supernatural beings. A Mythology of Our Own strives to reclaim the role of myth as a transhistorical system of communication that is still thriving and manifesting in any media. Taking the cultural products of fandom as a current instance of myth in this understanding of the word, I argue that they share with myth four defining features: an archival quality, the recurrence of a vast but finite number of narrative elements, a complex relationship with authorship, and a meaning-making function. Despite the absence of a unanimous definition of myth among scholars, these four features emerge consistently across theories, albeit with different terminology or emphasis. By focusing on fandom, this project aims to restore critical dignity to cultural products that are often dismissed by academia and mainstream culture alike as an amateur activity generating low-quality and unoriginal products. On the contrary, fandom is both a current manifestation of myth and a form of expression that responds to the human need for representation, connection, and the pursuit of meaning.
Date of Award4 Dec 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorMargaret-Anne Hutton (Supervisor) & Tom Smith (Supervisor)


  • Fandom
  • Myth
  • Queer
  • Archive
  • Fanfiction
  • Fanwork
  • Mytheme
  • Authorship
  • Meaning
  • Community

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 2 July 2026

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