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New Narratives

Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age

Ruth Page

Publication Year: 2011

Just as the explosive growth of digital media has led to ever-expanding narrative possibilities and practices, so these new electronic modes of storytelling have, in their own turn, demanded a rapid and radical rethinking of narrative theory. This timely volume takes up the challenge, deeply and broadly considering the relationship between digital technology and narrative theory in the face of the changing landscape of computer-mediated communication.

New Narratives reflects the diversity of its subject by bringing together some of the foremost practitioners and theorists of digital narratives. It extends the range of digital subgenres examined by narrative theorists to include forms that have become increasingly prominent, new examples of experimental hypertext, and contemporary video games. The collection also explicitly draws connections between the development of narrative theory, technological innovation, and the use of narratives in particular social and cultural contexts.

Finally, New Narratives focuses on how the tools provided by new technologies may be harnessed to provide new ways of both producing and theorizing narrative. Truly interdisciplinary, the book offers broad coverage of contemporary narrative theory, including frameworks that draw from classical and postclassical narratology, linguistics, and media studies.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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p. vii-vii

List of Tables

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pp. viii

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pp. 1-16

In recent years developments in digital technology have played a significant role in the transformation of narrative theory and practice. Stories that exploit the capacity of digital media (that is, those that necessitate the computer for their production and display) have provided vital new territory against...

Part 1: New Foundations

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pp. 17

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1 From Synesthesia to Multimedia

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pp. 19-34

The title of Marku Eskelinen’s controversial essay in the Electronic Book Review, “Cybertext Theory: What an English Professor Should Know before Trying,” tells us a great deal about the problems of talking about new media narrative...

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2 The Interactive Onion

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pp. 35-62

Of all the properties of new media, interactivity is widely recognized as the one that marks the most significant difference from old media— think of movies versus computer games, drama versus Internet chat, and print novels versus...

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3 Ontological Boundaries and Methodological Leaps

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pp. 63-82

This essay sets out an ontologically centered approach to Storyspace hypertext fiction by applying Ryan’s (1991) model of Possible Worlds Theory to two canonical texts. It begins by showing how different waves of hypertext theory have sought...

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4 Seeing through the Blue Nowhere

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pp. 83-100

By now we have a reasonably long history of considering the questions of what we mean by transparency in narrative, and how, if it is, is it threatened (or perchance enhanced) by new media forms. Almost a year before Shelley Jackson proclaimed...

Part 2 New Architectures

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pp. 101

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5 Curveship

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pp. 103-119

Interactive fiction is a venerable, well-defined category of computer programs that includes the canonical Adventure and Zork as well as work by established literary authors:Mindwheel by Robert Pinsky, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by...

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6 Digitized Corpora as Theory-Building Resource

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pp. 120-137

Whereas previous work at the intersection of media studies and narrative theory has explored the impact of the digital media on processes of storytelling and on the interpretation (or experience) of storyworlds,1 our chapter outlines a different approach...

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7 From (W)reader to Breather

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pp. 138-152

The aim of this chapter is to investigate and exemplify a recent phenomenon in the practice of digital narrative, which engages creatively with the interplay between intentionality and corporeality in the reading process. Drawing on Espen Aarseth’s...

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8 Songlines in the Streets

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pp. 153-169

To understand the place of new narrative technologies, it is necessary to separate the stories we tell within digital spaces from those we tell about them. In The Digital Sublime, Vincent Mosco examines numerous myths surrounding cyberspace...

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9 Narrative Supplements

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pp. 170-184

The so-called dvd revolution is said to have brought about substantial change in fi lms, change that also impinges directly on narrative. According to Barlow, the dvd is now “fundamentally changing the way we interact with movies,” has taken fi lms outside of “time” and into “boxes,” and has created a new...

Part 3 New Practices

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10 All Together Now

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pp. 187-204

Printed books are almost always products of collaboration, not necessarily in the sense of multiple authors writing together but in the less-considered sense of multiple people working together to produce an edited, designed, bound, printed...

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11 “Update Soon!”

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pp. 205-219

Fanfiction may be defi ned as prose fiction of any length, style, genre, and narrative technique, produced by fans of a wide range of cultural products including tv shows, movies, video games, Japanese manga, and “classic” literature. This kind of “imaginative expansion” (Brewer 2005, 2) is said to have been with us since...

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12 Blogging on the Body

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pp. 220-238

Blogs (also known as web logs) are frequently modified web pages in which the dated entries appear in reverse chronological order, so that the reader views the most recently written entries first. Blogs emerged as a web genre in the late 1990s...

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13 Using the Force

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pp. 239-253

Even though Star Wars did not become a video game until 1983, we contend that it was a richly playable experience from its very fi rst exposure to the public. The popular assumption of the Star Wars canon as one primarily seeded by a series...

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14 Digital Narratives, Cultural Inclusion, and EducationalPossibility

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pp. 254-276

I am reading a revised version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears as an underwater tale, written by a little girl in grade 2 (age seven to eight) who has clearly borrowed heavily from Disney’s animated movie rendering of The Little Mermaid to create this context...


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pp. 277-280


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pp. 281

E-ISBN-13: 9780803238367
E-ISBN-10: 0803238363
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803217867
Print-ISBN-10: 0803217862

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 25 illustrations, 5 tables
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Frontiers of Narrative

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Discourse analysis, Narrative.
  • Narration (Rhetoric).
  • Mass media.
  • Online authorship.
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