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Storyworlds across Media

Toward a Media-Conscious Narratology

Marie-Laure Ryan

Publication Year: 2014

The proliferation of media and their ever-increasing role in our daily life has produced a strong sense that understanding media—everything from oral storytelling, literary narrative, newspapers, and comics to radio, film, TV, and video games—is key to understanding the dynamics of culture and society. Storyworlds across Media explores how media, old and new, give birth to various types of storyworlds and provide different ways of experiencing them, inviting readers to join an ongoing theoretical conversation focused on the question: how can narratology achieve media-consciousness?

The first part of the volume critically assesses the cross- and transmedial validity of narratological concepts such as storyworld, narrator, representation of subjectivity, and fictionality. The second part deals with issues of multimodality and intermediality across media. The third part explores the relation between media convergence and transmedial storyworlds, examining emergent forms of storytelling based on multiple media platforms. Taken together, these essays build the foundation for a media-conscious narratology that acknowledges both similarities and differences in the ways media narrate.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi-xiv

...Germany. We are greatly indebted to Karl N. Renner and his colleagues from the Research Unit Media Convergence and the Transmedial Narration Work Group for inviting us to stay in Mainz and for coorganizing the conference with us. Patrick Colm Hogan’s contribution...

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Storyworlds across Media: Introduction

Marie-Laure Ryan and Jan-Noël Thon

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pp. 1-22

...these franchises spins a story that provides instant immersion, because the recipient is spared the cognitive effort of building a world and its inhabitants from a largely blank state. The world is already in place when the recipient takes his or her first steps in it, once again. Following the established custom...

Part 1

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1 Story/Worlds/Media

Marie-Laure Ryan

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pp. 25-49

...Both of the two terms that form the title of this book, “storyworlds” and “media,” are common in contemporary narratological and critical discourse, but they tend to be used in a very loose way. In this chapter, I explore the difficulties involved in turning them from conveniently vague catchphrases that can be used in many contexts into the...

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2 Emplotting a Storyworld in Drama

Patrick Colm Hogan

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pp. 50-66

...There is a common view that drama is “mimetic” rather than “diegetic,” or narrated (see Richardson, “Drama” 151). In the sense intended by Plato and Aristotle, this is true. With limited exceptions, drama has no overt narrator, no speaker of the entire piece. However, as several authors have pointed out, given a more complex notion of narration, one may argue that drama does have a narrator....

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3 Subjectivity across Media

Jan-Noël Thon

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pp. 67-102

...Prototypical narrative representations not only represent a storyworld situated in space and time but also populate that storyworld with characters to whom some kind of mental life can be ascribed. Accordingly, narrative representations across media may employ a number of different strategies to represent the consciousness of...

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4 Fiction across Media

Frank Zipfel

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pp. 103-125

...During the past forty years, the questions of the nature of fiction or fictionality and of the importance of this concept for the theory of art have been hotly debated. A huge part of this discussion has been and still is focused on narrative literature. But by now fictionality has become an important notion not only...

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5 Framings of Narrative in Literature and the Pictorial Arts

Werner Wolf

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pp. 126-148

...stories can be transmitted by more media than verbal texts. Therefore, further belabouring these and similar facts is no longer necessary in narratology. Yet what has not been researched sufficiently, if at all, is this question: how do we know in the first place...

Part 2

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6 The Rise of the Multimodal Novel

Wolfgang Hallet

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pp. 151-172

...Since the 1990s an ever- growing number of novels have not merely consisted of verbal text but have also incorporated a wide range of visual representations and modes such as (the reproduction of) photographs, hand- drawn sketches, maps and diagrams...

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7 On Absent Carrot Sticks

Jesper Juul

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pp. 173-192

...Here is a naïve question: why am I not allowed to cut a carrot into sticks? Figure 7.1 shows the action of chopping carrots in Cooking Mama (Office Create). In this game, the player is tasked with preparing, heating, and arranging ingredients according to the recipes that the game provides. While we expect to perform all of these actions...

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8 Film Comics

Jared Gardner

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pp. 193-210

...Born together at the end of the nineteenth century, comics and film were both multimodal narrative forms from the start, telling stories using multiple, interdependent semiotic chains of text and image. Together, comics and film became the first two new narrative media of the twentieth century, and in developing their...

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9 Tell It Like a Game

Jeff Thoss

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pp. 211-229

...one narrative medium to another arguably constitute a privileged site of competition, seeing that different media are charged with telling the same story and representing the same storyworld. Even though, as Linda Hutcheon remarks, our culture harbors a disdain for adaptations, deeming them inferior because they are derivative...

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10 Those Insane Dream Sequences

Marco Caracciolo

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pp. 230-250

...conceptual link between classical narratological research on the representation of conscious experience in fiction and post- classical, cognitivist approaches. However, Fludernik’s central claim that experientiality is the defining feature of narrative has not withstood closer scrutiny. Starting...

Part 3

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11 Strategies of Storytelling on Transmedia Television

Jason Mittell

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pp. 253-277

...Few storytelling forms can match serial television for narrative breadth and vastness. A single narrative universe can continue for years, or even decades in the case of daytime serials, with cumulative plotlines and character backstories accruing far beyond what any dedicated fan could reasonably remember. Even a show that fails...

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12 A Taxonomy of Transmedia Storytelling

Colin B. Harvey

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pp. 278-294

...stories using a variety of media platforms. These stories can either be understood in isolation or viewed contingently with regard to those other stories that share the same storyworld but are conveyed using different media. Such media might include novels, films...

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13 Game of Thrones

Lisbeth Klastrup and Susana Tosca

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pp. 295-314

...In recent years, we have seen a growing body of scholarship on transmediality from different perspectives: storytelling, world building, industry practices, and studies that look at both “old” media formats, such as film and television and “new” media formats such as websites, digital games, and mobile phones (see, e.g., Dena; Bechmann Pedersen...

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14 Transmedial Narration and Fan Fiction

Maria Lindgren Leavenworth

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pp. 315-331

...evidences a desire to present alternatives to the narrative or to fill in perceived gaps. In their stories, fanfic authors in subtle or profound ways change conditions, plotlines, or characterizations, and in these ways they contribute new associations and interpretations to the extended storyworld. Despite increased academic...

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15 The Developing Storyworld of H. P. Lovecraft

Van Leavenworth

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pp. 332-350

...are frequently defined as “worlds evoked by narratives,” which means that narratives act “as blueprints for world- creation” (Herman vii). For example, a reader’s mental construction of the environment, characters, and actions presented in Margaret Atwood’s...

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pp. 351-356

...is a postdoctoral researcher at the Arts, Culture, and Media Department of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. While working on his dissertation in comparative literature at the University of Bologna, he was also a visiting scholar at the Ohio State University (Project Narrative) and at the University of Hamburg (Interdisciplinary Center for Narratology). He is mainly interested in cognitive approaches to literature and in literary...


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pp. 357-365

E-ISBN-13: 9780803255326
E-ISBN-10: 0803255322
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803245631

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 880964681
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Storyworlds across Media

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Narration (Rhetoric).
  • Discourse analysis, Narrative.
  • Storytelling in mass media.
  • Mass media and language.
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