Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thesis Abstract

I heard this morning that a close relative (you know who you are) did not think this blog was particularly academic in its content. To add a little academic flavor to the mix, I post here an abstract I wrote last week, which attempts to summarize my thesis in less than a page:

The Role of Implied Response in Selected Digital Literary Texts

Keywords: reception, implied response, digital literature, new media, network, dialogism, narrative, remediation, narrative architecture,

In this study I develop the concept of implied response and demonstrate it to be a useful analytical approach in the analysis of six digital works of literature. The six works examined are Alleph by Sakab Bashir (2003), Dreamaphage by Jason Nelson (2004), Last Meal Requested by Sachiko Hayashi (2003), Egypt: The Book of Going Forth by Day by M. D. Coverley (2006) and Ftrain by Paul Ford (2007). Implied response operates at the textual level, encompassing the digital literary work’s storage, publishing, prefaces, design and narratives. Implied response is the modes or attitudes of response that are suggested or emphasized in the text at the point of reception. I follow implied response through networks across the multiple media forms represented in the texts as audio, written and visual components and their combinations. Implied response as a complex network is examined in relation to the representation of place and space, the representation (remediation) of older media forms (radio, books, film etc.) and other intertextual devices, legal definitions of the texts, narrative voice, visual perspective and the software. Following a dialogic model these features are discussed as nodal points within the overall textual structure and are analyzed regarding implied response.

This study is concerned with narrative and reception in relation to works of literary digital media that are often described as interactive. It is asserted that such media, when approached as texts, embody structures of address in the combinations of visual, written and audio components, which imply particular ranges of response. It is the dialogism implied in the texts by these combinations with their ranges of possible replies that is used to draw conclusions about the texts. From this study I propose that the texts discussed represent highly structured and complex response-driven forms of literature.

Jim Barrett
Umeå, 21 August 2008

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