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Wrestling with the Multimodal Novel: or, Reading Kinetic Interruption
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The paper starts by asserting that in the past two decades or so we have witnessed an explosive growth of novels in which non-verbal modes of signification are intimately woven into the narrative, posing thus new challenges to both classical and new narratology. While the presence of visual images of various types has attracted considerable critical attention (cf. the work on graphic fiction or on the use of photographs in, say W.G. Sebald’s texts), there are have been few attempts to address the function of such non-verbal instances as physically inserted letters that must be opened by the reader before they can be read or the presence of sequences of images that are meant to be “flipped” to simulate motion. To discuss some of the challenges that such “kinetic” modes of signification pose, the paper takes as its case study three multimodal novels: Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine (1991), Gordon Sheppard’s HA! (2003), and Steven Hall’s Raw Shark Texts (2007).  Discussing a few of the stress moments that the non-verbal puts on the existing critical vocabulary, the paper suggests some conceptual frameworks which can be fruitfully employed when analyzing such contemporary multimodal novels as the ones mentioned above. In short, the two questions that the paper addresses are: What critical vocabulary can be activated to analyze insertions of the kinetic into narratives? What does the presence of this type of interactivity do to the process of reading fiction?

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Humanities Specific Literatures
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-278171OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-278171DiVA: diva2:906194
International Conference on Narrative
Available from: 2016-02-24 Created: 2016-02-24 Last updated: 2016-04-21

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Fjellestad, Danuta
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