Many Doors to Fantastica: The Neverending Story & the Education of the Imagination

deadline for submissions: 
December 10, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Sean C. Hadley, Jeremy Scarbrough, Josh Herring / McFarland Press

Many Doors to Fantastica: The Neverending Story & the Education of the Imagination


Call for Papers: Edited Collection on The Neverending Story

Edited by Sean C. Hadley, Jeremy Scarbrough, Josh Herring


When thinking of family films from the 1980s, the plethora of weird yet engaging movies seems endless. Chief among them was Wolfgang Petersen’s 1984 film adaption of The Neverending Story. The film drew from Michael Ende’s 1979 Die unendliche Geschichte: Von A bis Z, known better by the English title which was shared with the film. Ende’s book ultimately spawned three films, two animated series, a hit song which has been covered by musicians in a variety of genres, and a host of short stories written as tributes to the imaginative work. Ende’s work managed to secure a spot in the collective memory of Americans. References to the film and the book populate television shows. This collection of essays seeks to engage in interdisciplinary readings and viewings which will help shed light on the lasting power of Ende’s fictional world.

The multifaceted framework of Ende’s story helps to shape the interdisciplinary approach of this collection. The lines between reality and fiction, between characters, and between purposes are all blurred in such a way that there is much to mine from the stores rich layers. This volume hopes to do the same by investigating the text from a variety of viewpoints, as well as offering pedagogical approaches for the classroom. It also seeks to highlight the various media representations of Ende’s story, including the films and cartoon adaptations. In the end, the book will enrich the reading and viewing experiences for those for whom Bastian and Atreyu are a part of their imaginative fabric, as well as serving as a gateway for those just coming to Fantastica for the first time. Contributors are invited to submit paper proposals that approach the imagination from a variety of lenses.


Possible topics might include:

  • Ende’s use of fairy tales
  • The Neverending Story and authorial intent
  • Interpretations of Fantastica and the Imagination
  • Examinations of the short stories which continued Ende’s Fantastican stories
  • Analyses of the film/cartoon adaptations of the novel
  • Hermeneutics and The Neverending Story
  • Philosophy of the Will in the film/book
  • The Childlike Empress and the Problem of Evil
  • Explorations of the conscience in Bastian
  • Using The Neverending Story in the classroom
  • Teaching textual adaptations using Ende’s book and Petersen’s film


The volume is set to be published by McFarland Press. Proposals should be between 300-500 words. Please attach a CV and abstract of your proposed chapter. Chapter lengths are anticipated to be between 6,000-8,000 words, though this may change based upon the number of accepted proposals. Proposals may be sent to the editors at


  • Proposal Due Date: December 10, 2021.
  • Proposal Acceptance Notifications: January 15, 2022.
  • Chapter Submission Due: June 30, 2022.