Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives


Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives

Edited by Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons

Frontiers of Narrative Series

314 pages
12 photographs, 32 illustrations, index


August 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

August 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

August 2023


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives interrogates the multimodal relationship between fictionality and factuality. The contemporary discussion about fictionality coincides with an increase in anxiety regarding the categories of fact and fiction in popular culture and global media. Today’s media-saturated historical moment and political climate give a sense of urgency to the concept of fictionality, distinct from fiction, specifically in relation to modes and media of discourse.

Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons explicitly interrogate the relationship of fictionality with multimodal strategies of narrative construction in the present media ecology. Contributors consider the ways narrative structures, their reception, and their theoretical frameworks in narratology are influenced and changed by media composition—particularly new media. By accounting for the relationship of multimodal composition with the ontological complexity of narrative worlds, Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives fills a critical gap in contemporary narratology—the discipline that has, to date, contributed most to the conceptualization of fictionality.

Author Bio

Torsa Ghosal is an assistant professor of English at California State University, Sacramento. She is the author of Out of Mind: Mode, Mediation, and Cognition in Twenty-First-Century Narrative. Alison Gibbons is a reader in contemporary stylistics at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She is the author of Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature and the coeditor of several books, including Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism.


“We live in unbelievable times. Fake news and virtual reality as well as deep-seated disagreements about foundational facts (climate change, the outcome of the American presidential election, and more) make distinguishing fact from fiction nearly impossible. The positive spin is that this situation provides an opportunity for literature and literary criticism to intervene in a big way, teaching us to take seriously the form and formats of multimodal narrative and fictionality. This volume participates in that vital endeavor. Offering smart chapters by scholars and artists who approach the topic from diverse perspectives and through fascinating case studies, this book helps to realign the questions and methods through which we experience and understand ‘the real.’”—Jessica Pressman, author of Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media

“An impressive and important anthology, both timely and fascinating, that breaks new ground in narrative theory and analysis. Essential for understanding fictionality, multimodality, and the evolving relations between them. This volume offers a precognition of the future of narratology.”—Brian Richardson, author of Essays on Narrative and Fictionality: Reassessing Nine Central Concepts

“A valuable and thought-provoking work that treats timely and important issues in a stimulating fashion. I particularly appreciate inclusion of the perspective of practicing writers and artists, some of whom are also theorists and/or critics. This serves further to break down oppositional categories.”—Fiona Doloughan, author of Contemporary Narrative: Textual Production, Multimodality and Multiliteracies

“An elegantly constructed collection of essays exploring the somewhat surprising link between contemporary multimodal storytelling and a reflection on the fictionality of those stories. The essays range across a wide variety of contemporary narrative forms, and the sample texts are well chosen. In addition, having Marie-Laure Ryan summarize and respond to some of the essays in the book’s postscript creates a very effective dialogue.”—Daniel Punday, author of Five Strands of Fictionality: The Institutional Construction of Contemporary American Fiction

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Intersections of Fictionality and Multimodality in Narratives
Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons
Part 1. Constructing Places and Worlds
1. There’s No Place Like Time and Maze Reading
Lance Olsen
2. Multimodal Fantasies of Getting Lost: Reading Contemporary Literary Maps
Alexander Starre
3. Possible Worlds Theory and the Fictionality of Images in Counterfactual Narratives
Riyukta Raghunath
4. Fictionality and Multimodal Anthropocene Fiction
Alison Gibbons
Part 2. Crossing Borders and Creative Boundaries
5. The New-Materialism Novel: Twenty-Two Bricks in Its Theory and Construction
Steve Tomasula
6. Multimodality and Meaning-Making across Lines, Columns, and Genres in Brigid Brophy’s In Transit
Andrea Macrae
7. Fictionality and the Multimodal Positioning of the Reader in Christian Jungersen’s You Disappear
Nina Nørgaard
8. Do-It-Yourself Multimodality: Fictionality and the (Ab)Uses of the Book Medium in Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal
Mikko Keskinen
Part 3. Writing, Showing, and Reading from Life
9. The Line and I: Breaks and Genres
Sumana Roy
10. Building Familiarity in Mark Z. Danielewski’s The Familiar: Multimodal Storytelling, Seriality, and Social Reading
Sara Tanderup Linkis
11. Fictionality in Theory Fiction and Autotheory
Torsa Ghosal
12. Multimodal Autobiographies
Wolfgang Hallet
13. Postscript
Marie-Laure Ryan

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