The Text as a Scalable Structure: New Ways of Storytelling?

By Florentina Armaselu.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Inspired by the fictional construction of Stephenson (2000), an “anfractuous” book able to answer reader’s questions by self-expansion and ramification, and functioning on the principle “tell me more about this subject”, our project deals with the construction of an interface allowing several levels of detail and implying different “scales” of textual representation. By revisiting a number of traditional narrative paradigms, the paper will discuss some new possible ways of storytelling determined by this kind of textual development and exploration. Greenblatt (2004) suggests that in “Venus and Adonis”, Shakespeare uses a way of approaching or distancing the reader from a character or situation by increasing or decreasing his “physical and emotional proximity”. In some passages, we seem to be at a great distance from the two protagonists while in other, we can observe the tiniest details, as in a view evoking the “zoom in” perspective. On the other hand, in his analysis of Evelyne Waugh’s “Vile Bodies”, Alan Palmer (2003) uses the term “behaviorist narrative” defined as an objective description, focalized on the characters’ behavior, i.e. on their actions rather than on their feelings and thoughts. Could we therefore imagine a narrative, on several scales of detail, allowing an alternation of proximity and distance from the protagonists or starting with a behaviorist approach and gradually investigating the psychological depths of the characters? Would this type of textuality involve a reconciliation of immersion and interactivity, in the sense of Ryan (2001), and a variable interpretation depending on the “degree of immersion” in the process of reading? What kind of narrative, characters, plot, relationship author-text-reader would imply this new form of writing?

Keywords: Electronic Text, Fractal Geometry, Narrative Theory

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.53-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.822MB).

Dr. Florentina Armaselu

PhD Student, Comparative Literature Department, University of Montreal, Canada

Florentina Vasilescu Armaselu is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the University of Montreal, Canada. In 2003, she obtained a M.Sc. in Computer Science at the same university. She also worked as an analyst programmer and as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Craiova, Romania. Her research and publications concern the domains of electronic literature, computational linguistics, terminology and computer assisted language learning.

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