This essay examines the cultural maps of Eastern European nations drawn by Philip Pullman in His Dark Materials trilogy, Jonathan Stroud in The Bartimaeus Trilogy and J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series. I argue that each of those authors, in subtle and unintentional ways, perpetuates Western politico-cultural superiority in regard to Eastern Europeans. One reason for this may be that Pullman, Stroud and Rowling share a specifically British cultural attitude of regarding the continent as alien and incomprehensible. This perspective is part of a fuzzy cluster of notions, seemingly widespread across Europe, which comprise what Lawrence J. Sharpe calls 'an East-West continuum of cultural one-upmanship' (309). As the most westerly people on this continuum, so the explanation goes, the British tend to look down on everyone else to the East. My focus in this article is on how these attitudes are communicated in some of the most internationally popular British fantasy series of the recent years.
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- Eastern Europe