Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture

Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture

Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture

Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture

Synopsis

It has become something of a cliché within the field of narratologyto assert the commercial, aesthetic, and sociocultural relevance ofnarrative representations, but the fact remains that narratives areeverywhere. Whenever we read a novel or a comic, watch a film or anepisode of our favorite television series, or play the latest video game,we are likely to engage with narrative media. Similarly, the intermedialadaptations and transmedial entertainment franchises that havebecome increasingly visible during the past few decades are, at theircore, narrative forms. Since a significant part of contemporary mediaculture is defined by the narratives we tell each other via various media,media studies need a genuinely transmedial narratology.
Focusing on the intersubjective construction of storyworlds as wellas on prototypical forms of narratorial and subjective representation,Transmedial Narratology and Contemporary Media Culture providesnot only a method for the analysis of salient transmedial strategiesof narrative representation in contemporary films, comics, and videogames but also a theoretical frame within which medium-specific approachesfrom literary and film narratology, from comics studies andgame studies, and from various other strands of media and culturalstudies may be employed to further our understanding of narrativesacross media.

Excerpt

Contemporary media culture is shaped by technological innovations and the move of media conglomerates from vertical to horizontal integration, which has led to a highly interconnected media landscape where intellectual property is often spread across a variety of media platforms. Among the effects of this technological and cultural media convergence have been the increased visibility of various kinds of intermedial adaptations and the continued rise of what may be described as transmedial entertainment franchises—entertainment franchises, that is, that transgress the borders of different “media” and hermetically packaged “works.” Influential contemporary examples would include the novel-based franchises The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, the film-based franchises Star Wars and The Matrix, the television-based franchises Doctor Who and Lost, the comics-based franchises Batman and The Walking Dead, or the video game–based franchises Tomb Raider and Warcraft. While the transmedial representation of characters, stories, and their worlds has become particularly ubiquitous in contemporary media culture, then, a brief look at the rich storyworlds of Hinduism or Christianity already demonstrates that it is not an entirely new phenomenon. Yet, during the last decade or so, media studies have increasingly become aware of the sociocultural significance of these kinds of transmedial storyworlds as well as the considerable theoretical and methodological challenges their study presents due to the complex forms of authorship involved, the vast amount of material produced, and the vocal participation of fans in the negotiation of transmedial meaning(s).

In light of a number of rather grand claims regarding the pervasiveness of transmedial entertainment franchises and the transmedial . . .

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